The India Under-16 football team is all set to face the top junior club teams from Egypt in a couple of friendly matches scheduled this weekend.
They will play with Al-Ahly club in Cairo on 22 April and with Smouha club in Alexandria on 23 April. The matches are under The India-Egypt Friendship Cup: Football Match Series as part of the India by the Nile cultural festival which runs until 27 April.
The matches will be played in Cairo and Alexandria. The matches are being organised by The embassy of India in Egypt, in collaboration with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Embee Group, all India Football Federation, Al-Ahly Club, Smouha Club.
"This is an opportunity for the young team and a very useful experience for them because they will have the exposure of a very competitive kind of football," India's Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya told PTI while attending the training of the young footballers. Bhattacharayya then explained the choice of venues.
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"Cairo is a natural choice because we are all here and the Ahly team is here. And we chose Alexandria because we want them to visit another city and play with another team.
"Also, I think a lot of people in India are familiar with Alexandria and they know about the ancient wonders that are there, the light house and the old library, so when the youngsters go to Alexandria it will be a major point in their lives," he said.
The visit is the first ever visit of an Indian football team to Egypt to play matches with their Egyptian counterparts. The current team is preparing for the under-16 AFC Cup qualifiers, which will be held in Nepal.
"This is a good outing for them to visit Egypt and go back with a new experience. The most important think is that they build friendships," the Ambassador said. One of the players Ridge Demcllo termed this as a wonderful experience.
"It's a very wonderful feeling to come to a new country and play with different people ," he said. Rohit Danu, another player, said that he is pleased to visit Egypt and that everything is good during their stay here.
"All the facilities are good and the country is beautiful," Danu said.