IMPHAL: It has been a long time coming but better late than never, the Manipuris have to be muttering as the state, one of Indian football’s biggest supply lines, finally gets to host an international tournament in Imphjal from today, March 22.
India and Myanmar will open the tri-nation tournament, which will also feature Kyrgyzstan, at the Khuman Lampak Stadium.
Sunil Chhetri will lead the Indian effort against a team that has lost nine of their past 11 games after recently leading Bangalore FC to the Indian Super League final.
Igor Stimac, the head coach of India, would not want his team to take anything for granted in preparation for the 2023 Asian Cup. He will also expect the young players nominated to the squad to seize the moment with both hands and establish themselves as contenders for the more important matches to come.
On March 28, at the same location, the home team will play Kyrgyzstan after Burma. Manipur has perhaps never been more prepared than it is right now.
Naturally, a number of Blue Tigers players have participated in domestic competitions on a regular basis in the state that has contributed so many elite football players to the national team throughout the years. Yet for the football-obsessed state, it's a first in terms of international competitions.