India couldn’t confirm their availability for the upcoming Copa America, Here’s Why

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The Indian National Football team could have been one of those top 12 team to feature at the Copa America but will not be able to take part in the mega event due to scheduling issues. The Copa America houses some of the big footballing powerhouses like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia.

The South American football championship has been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic and will kick off it’s 47th edition on the 11th of June, 2021 and the Blue Tigers could have been one of the participants after being recommended by Australia, who pulled out due to various other commitments.

Asian giants Qatar and Australia were invited to take part in the Copa America but both the nations have pulled out due to scheduling conflict as Australia are due to play their world cup qualifiers and Qatar, the hosts for the upcoming festival of football in 2022 are yet to play their qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup.

The Football Federation Australia then spoke to the AIFF (All India Football Federation) and to CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation), who were keen to invite India. “They were very interested in having us play,” All India Football Federation general secretary Kushal Das told TOI on Wednesday.

Credit: AIFF Media

Unfortunately, India couldn’ confirm their availability for the South American Summit aa the FIFA World Cup qualifiers were rescheduled to June from March-April by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“There were scheduling issues. The Copa America is in June and we were trying to see if the qualifiers could be played earlier in March/April. But it didn’t work out for some of the countries (in the group) like Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“Had the qualifiers been in March or April, it would have been a fantastic experience for our team. It’s a very difficult tournament, but for a young squad, this is what they require. I hope, as the organizers have indicated that they are interested in India, we can make it happen in the future,” Das told TOI.

India’s Head Coach and World Cup bronze medalist Igor Stimac also confirmed the “chance” of featuring in the Copa America alongside some of the high profile modern greats like James Rodriguez, Neymar, Luiz Suarez and arguably the best player on the planet, Lionel Messi.

“We were all really excited. There was a chance for us to go there, instead of Australia. This would have been a wonderful experience. In the future, hopefully we will be invited,” Stimac told TOI.

As both Qatar and Australia have opted out the organisers are looking at the possibility of inviting two other teams to replace Australia and Qatar and incase they fail, they will go ahead with 10 South American teams.

If India could have confirmed their availability and replaced Australia, they would have featured in the Group A alongside Lionel Messi’s Argentina, Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Argentina and Colombia will host the upcoming edition of Copa America.

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