After the successful conclusion of the Hero Tri-Nation International Football Tournament in Manipur, the Indian national team is all set to participate in the Hero Intercontinental Cup in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The four-team tournament will be held from June 9 to 18 in the FIFA International Window, with India, Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu participating.
This will be the third edition of the Hero Intercontinental Cup, with the previous two editions held in Mumbai in 2018 and Ahmedabad in 2019. Bhubaneswar will be hosting the event for the first time, which marks a significant moment in Odisha’s football history.
Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, the Federation Secretary General, expressed his delight over including Bhubaneswar as a venue for the senior Men’s International football. He stated that Bhubaneswar had already showcased its ability to host major international events during the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. The government of Odisha has developed excellent infrastructure, a legacy left behind by the U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Dr Prabhakaran also expressed confidence that the people of Odisha would display the same enthusiasm for the event as the fans in Manipur had shown during the Hero Tri-Nation tournament. He added that hosting the Hero Intercontinental Cup would be an excellent opportunity for the growth of football in Odisha.
India will face Lebanon, Mongolia, and Vanuatu in the tournament. The Indian national team has played six matches against Lebanon, whereas they will be playing Mongolia and Vanuatu for the first time in their history.
The Indian Men’s National Team has been performing well on home turf, remaining unbeaten in their last five matches. The unbeaten run began on June 8, 2022, with a 2-0 victory over Cambodia in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers Round 3 in Kolkata. Since then, they have defeated Afghanistan (2-1), Hong Kong (4-0), Myanmar (1-0), and Kyrgyz Republic (2-0) in the Hero Tri-Nation tournament held in Imphal.
The Hero Intercontinental Cup promises to be an exciting event. With Bhubaneswar hosting it for the first time, it is bound to attract football fans nationwide. The tournament’s success will enhance India’s reputation as a growing football nation and pave the way for more international events to be held in different parts of the country.