NEW DELHI, July 20: The Indian football team will play against China for the first time in 21 years, and the first time away from home, in an international friendly in October, continuing its preparation for the prestigious Asian Cup next year.
The All India Football Federation today confirmed the development. The AFC Asian Cup will be held in the UAE from January 5 to February 1.
The 97th-ranked Indian team will travel to Beijing to play against the 75th ranked China during the October 8-16 FIFA window.
Though the date for the friendly will be decided in coming days, AIFF has proposed October 13 as its preferred match day. India and China have faced each other 17 times � all on Indian soil � with the last being 21 years ago in the Nehru Cup in Kochi in 1997.
As per AIFF general secretary Kushal Das, India could also play against Saudi Arabia, another higher ranked team from the continent.
Recently, the India U-16 national team visited China for an invitational four-nation tournament, which also included U-16 Thailand and U-16 DPR Korea. � PTI