New Delhi: The Indian national football team's head coach Igor Stimac has announced the 23-man final
squad to face Bangladesh in 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers home fixture.
The Blue Tigers are set to face Bangladesh at Kolkata as the team returned to the 'Mecca of Indian
football' after a gap of eight years.
Halicharan Narzary, Farukh Choudhary and Nishu Kumar have been dropped from the squad while
Sandesh Jhingan and Anwar Ali (Jr.), have been forced to stay out due to injuries.
Sandesh Jhingan suffered an injury during a practice match against NorthEast United in Guwahati.
“Halicharan, Farukh and Nishu gave others a tough run for money and the decision was not an easy one.
They came very close to their competitors. It was in fact a tough decision to take,” Stimac stated.
“Sandesh is our Iron-man. He'll be missed in Kolkata but knowing him, I'm pretty sure, he'll come back
much stronger," he further added.
Indian National Team Physio Gigy George stated, “Sandesh has suffered ACL tear on his left knee and
need to undergo surgery. It usually takes 6 months to return to sport. He will be monitored constantly
during the rehabilitation phase so that he comes back on the field sooner.”
Meanwhile national team custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who wore the Captain's armband against
Qatar rued Jhingan's absence as a huge loss for the Blue Tigers.
"It’s really sad. It's a big loss for us, especially at this moment. I could imagine how would he feel missing
this game but he's a strong guy and he'll come back strongly soon," Sandhu said.
Adil Khan, Jhingan's partner in defense however feels this is an opportunity to the players who are
waiting to take the field for the national side.
"He (Sandesh) plays a huge role in our team and he's the leader in our defence. Now, the onus is on us
to live up to the expectations. We want to win it for him," Adil echoed.
The team squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Narender, Sarthak Golui, Anas Edathodika, Mandar
Rao Desai, Subhasish Bose.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Abdul Sahal, Raynier Fernandes,
Brandon Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh.
The team will land in Kolkata on 13th October.
India will face Bangladesh on 15th October at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium at 7:30 PM IST.
Bangladesh team has already landed in Kolkata.