Regular checkups for national footballers as they train in Delhi smog
The Indian national football team is taking specific measures to curb the severe pollution levels in the national capital.
Coach Stephen Constantine and a 30-man probable squad landed here on Monday to begin their preparatory camp for a friendly match against Jordan on November 17. The Indian team will train at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium for three days before flying to Amman on Thursday.
The extreme smog condition in Delhi has given rise to serious health issues and to ensure the players remain fit, team doctors have arranged for a special screening at 9am every day.
"Our team doctor and physio Danny bhai hold meeting in the morning where everything is checked, right from muscle weakness, injuries and if any player is hit by dehydration," defender Nishu Kumar told Mail Today ahead of the first practice session on Monday. "We have been asked to remain hydrated but no special training or nutrition has been suggested so far."
The 23-year-old said the players do feel the pollution levels in the Capital but are adjusting to it.
"We have to adjust to it (pollution), to be honest. We feel the pollution but we are keeping up with it and our team physio and doctors are ensuring that we remain fit for the friendly match," he added.
India will miss the services of their star striker and captain Sunil Chhetri, who has been ruled out of the tie due to an injury. Chhetri, 33, suffered an ankle injury during Bengaluru FC's encounter against Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League and will remain on the sidelines for two weeks, according to national team physio Gigy George.
Asked about Chhetri's absence, Nishu explained that the team will focus on getting a win without their captain as there are others to fill his big boots.
"The team played well in China last time and against Jordan, we want to keep that momentum. I wasn't part of the team that played in China but I hope to play a part in Amman. Sunil bhai has an obvious presence but we have other players too, who know their job well. I think matches like this will be good to test our team before the AFC Asian Cup next year," he said.
Nishu concluded by saying that the players are working hard with their respective football clubs in a bid to get the nod for the continental tournament in UAE come January.