The Sunil Chhetri led Indian football team is all set to participate in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 starting 5 January 2019 in the United Arab Emirates. Before the tournament, India is to play a friendly tie with Oman this Thursday but the blue brigade is still awaiting the full set of official kit — including the practice kit and national team jerseys.
According to a Times article, the new kit was to be provided by a Gurugram based sportswear brand – Six5Six which has replaced Nike and the deal is reported to be anywhere near Rs 8-10 crore. Nike’s contract was to end on 31st December 2018 but the brand refused to continue with AIFF (All India Football Federation) so the federation had roped in Six5Six this October.
However, the new kits haven’t reached the squad that has landed in Abu Dhabi on 20 December. The team has had to train to wear the old kit provided by Nike, away from public eyes.
Sources informed TOI that practice kit has begun arriving in UAE in batches. However, some of the jerseys have been ill-fitting while some bear the same jersey numbers. This has apparently, angered head coach Stephen Constantine so much so much so that the Briton called up AIFF president Praful Patel to express his displeasure.
When TOI contacted AIFF secretary general Kushal Das, he stressed that the federation was not at fault. “There’s no reason for creating unnecessary controversy. Some of the kits have already been received, and by Tuesday the players will have all the kits with them.”
India is to play their first match against Thailand on 6th January and then against UAE and Bahrain on 10th and 14th of January respectively.
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