The Indian Football Team is preparing in Kolkata for their upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifier match against Kuwait on Thursday.

From the moment the Blue Tigers arrived in the City of Joy, they were greeted with affection and warm support from the Kolkata fans. Supporters have been cheering for the players from the airport to the hotel and even at the training grounds, backing the Blue Tigers for the upcoming fixture, which will also mark the final appearance of Sunil Chhetri in national colours.

Indian No. 1 goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu shares insights from the Blue Tigers' training camp and the overwhelming affection and love they’re receiving from the fans.

"Fan support is never a question when we mention Kolkata. You can see the passion, the demand, and the love for the game, and our job is to play our best football to justify people sacrificing their daily lives to come to see us - be it at the airport or the stadium," Sandhu, who spent four seasons in Kolkata with East Bengal FC, told

The Blue Tigers have experienced a mixed campaign in the qualifiers. After securing a win in their opening match, they gained only two points in the subsequent three matches.

Sandhu discusses the preparation for the upcoming fixture against Kuwait, expressing his aspirations to achieve great heights for the country as the guardian of the Indian goal line in the coming years.

"The game on the 6th is going to be a very challenging one because of the opposition, who are obviously a good team with good players. We are studying them closely to make sure there is no room for error. I hope there are more games like this in the future as well of the same stature because we want to keep pushing the bar higher," said the goalkeeper.

In the past 10 years, the Indian football team has undergone significant changes in their style of play. For the first time, they qualified twice in succession for the AFC Cup and will now aim for a direct qualification to the next AFC Asian Cup, set to be held in Saudi Arabia in 2027.

Having already beaten Kuwait once in the opening fixture of the qualifiers away from home, India will be looking to repeat that performance at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday.

A victory against Kuwait would bring India closer to reaching the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, a milestone they have yet to achieve.

Sandhu emphasizes the importance of the upcoming match and its potential impact on Indian Football. Progression to the next round would provide India with more opportunities to play competitive matches in the coming years, which is crucial for the team's development and success.

"The third round is a place we have never reached before and are desperate to go to. Doing that will not just mean qualification for the next round, but also a direct slot into the next Asian Cup, which I think is immensely important because that is a stage where we want to be regulars (It would be India's third successive Asian Cup qualification). Whatever happens for the sport in the country is in the hands of the people. What we can do is give our hearts out there to win," concluded Sandhu.

The Indian team will be hoping for a positive result and to bid the perfect farewell to their captain and icon of Indian football, Sunil Chhetri.

The match between India and Kuwait is scheduled to kick off at 7 PM. It will be broadcasted on Sports 18 1, Sports 18 1 HD, and Sports 18 3, with live streaming available on JioCinema.