New Delhi: Blue Tigers Head Coach Igor Stimac announced the 26-member squad for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier against Afghanistan and Oman.
India will face Afghanistan in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe on November 14 and Oman in Muscat on November 19.
India U-17 World Cup prodigy Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem has earned his maiden call-up to Senior National Team setup, becoming the third player, after skipper Amarjit Singh and defender Anwar Ali, from the India U17 world cup squad to get summoned to the senior team camp.
"Dheeraj is a player for the future. We have always trusted our youngsters and they have also shown their prowess on the pitch. Our first choice goalkeepers are Gurpreet and Amrinder and we have seen Kamaljit and Vishal too. Now we would like to see Dheeraj closely as he belongs to those we should rely on in the future," coach Stimac said as he praised the youngster.
Sunil Chhetri stated that two back-to-back away fixtures are always something which is "not going to be easy with the travelling involved".
"But, we are professionals and we know how to take care of our bodies. How we travel, what we eat, how much we sleep is going to be very important," the legendary Indian forward added.
Pritam Kotal also echoed Sunil's statement, "You can’t complain about these because they’re an integral part of modern-day football. Proper rest, diet and recovery are of utmost importance which need to be taken care of."
Coach Stimac mentioned it was "not an easy task" to shortlist the players citing the healthy competition in the team as his reason.
"I trust them and they know their responsibilities. After watching the league matches since they started, we have shortlisted these players. Some players who are not on the list also performed highly and came very close to getting selected," Stimac further stated. "It's not going to be an easy task to select only a few players, given the healthy competition we have in each position. This is a good headache for us."
The 26-member squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Anas Edathodika, Narender, Adil Khan, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.
HEAD COACH: Igor Stimac.