Photo Credit: Indian Football Team Twitter
Head coach Igor Stimac announced the 28-man squad to travel to Doha for the qualifiers.
A 28-member Indian national football team squad has been announced by Head coach Igor Stimac. The squad will leave for Doha, Qatar in the evening of the same day (May 19) to play their remaining fixtures of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023. All the remaining fixtures of the qualifiers are set to be played in one venue, the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium of Doha, slated to begin from June 3 onwards.
The players went through an RTPCR test and were securely kept in a bio-bubble in New Delhi, for the last five days.
Head coach spoke to the AIFF media, and said that although the conditions are not ideal, as the pandemic lead to the cancellation of the planned national team camp which was supposed to be held in Kolkata to decide the final squad, and the team also missed out on a friendly scheduled to be played later in Dubai, the players will undergo intense training sessions before their matches get underway to make sure that they are ready.
“It’s not an ideal situation as we move ahead to the Qualifiers in June. Due to the pandemic, our National Camp which was slated to begin in Kolkata at the beginning of May had to get cancelled. The pandemic also robbed us of a friendly match in Dubai,” the coach lamented.
“However, we understand the magnitude of the situation, and it will be intense sessions in Doha to raise the tempo and try to get ready for the matches which starts with the one against the Asian Champions Qatar in Doha,” the Croatian reckoned.
Indian football team will face Qatar on June 3 at 10:30 pm IST, Bangladesh on June 7 at 7:30 pm IST and Afghanistan in the final match at 7:30 pm IST.
India is already out from the contention of a World Cup spot and will be looking to finish 3rd in the group to qualify for the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers.
Sunil Chhetri has made his comeback into the squad after missing out on the couple of friendlies played in April after having tested positive for CoVID-19. FC Goa’s Glan Martin has got his first ever national team call-up while Sahal Abdul Samad also makes a comeback into the squad.
Captain Sunil Chhetri expressed his respite on his return to the national squad, and is raring to go out on the pitch to face Asian champions for the first time in the tournament, “It’s such a relief to be back in the National team squad – after all, home is where the heart is. Personally, I am eagerly looking forward to being in Doha. The last time I was in Doha, I couldn’t be a part of the match against Qatar owing to illness,” he said.
“The matches in June are extremely tough and we need to take them one at a time. Given the fact that we don’t have much time, the preparatory camp will add immense value helping all to gel together, and strike that chord ahead of the first match,” the Bengaluru FC forward further added.
“Doha has always had an emotional connection with me. It was there that I played in the 2011 Asian Cup, and also the AFC Cup final for my club Bengaluru FC.”
The 28-man probables squad remains as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Narender Gehlot, Chinglensana Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Akash Mishra, Subhashish Bose.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Rowllin Borges, Glan Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Pronoy Halder, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Abdul Sahal, Yasir Mohammad, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.