Doha, May 20 (PTI) Indian soccer team players have undergone COVID-19 tests upon arrival and are awaiting results before starting their preparatory camp before the joint qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup.

The 28-person team and support staff landed here from New Delhi on Wednesday evening.

“The 28 players and support staff are in quarantine until they receive the test results from the RT-PCR tests conducted in Doha,” the All India Football Federation said in a press release.

“After that, the squad can open its preparation camp as part of the preparation for the games.” The team, supported by the return of Sunil Chhetri, will have prep camp here in a bio-bubble ahead of their first game against hosts Qatar on June 3rd. The other two games are against Bangladesh (June 7th) and Afghanistan (June 15th).

The round of games will be played in Doha in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which does not allow the original format of home and away games.

The Indian team, which is fourth in Group E with three points, is no longer trying to secure a World Cup place, but is still expecting the Asian Cup in China in 2023.

The AIFF thanked the Qatar Football Association (QFA) for allowing the team to arrive much before the games and have a preparation camp in Doha. QFA also used its good offices to enable the Indians to train without serving 10 days of rigorous quarantine.

“We are very grateful and grateful to the FA of Qatar for the way they got us out of the way and helped us start our camp in Qatar early,” said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.

‘Group E qualifying for the World Cup will take place in a safe bio-bubble. We understand that there are certain mandatory health parameters that we must adhere to when we arrive in Doha, which we will do with the utmost care. ‘Indian gamblers were supposed to have a national camp in Kolkata from May 2nd, but the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the country resulted in their lifting.

The story goes on

The Blue Tigers should also have a friendly – not international – behind closed doors in Dubai as part of the preparation, but even that had to be canceled.

“AIFF President Praful Patel had extensive discussions with the President of the FA Qatar who expressed our concern about the Prime Minister’s office. After that, the 10-day quarantine period was lifted,” said Das.

The 28-strong troop flew from New Delhi together with the support staff, where they found themselves in compulsory isolation from May 15 after arriving from their respective hometowns.

The entire contingent had arrived in New Delhi with mandatory negative RT-PCR test results and had undergone another RT-PCR test before departure for Doha. PTI PDS PDS KHS KHS