INDIAN NATIONAL TEAM HEAD COACH Igor Stimac has announced a two-part training camp ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers match against Qatar.
As the Blue Tigers prepare to face the Asian champions in Bhubaneswar, 23 players will assemble at the camp on 9th March. 20 others, mostly from the clubs who are still active in the ISL playoffs, will join the camp on 16th March.
Those joining on the 9th of March are...
GOALKEEPERS: Amrinder Singh, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Md. Rafique Ali Sardar
DEFENDERS: Pratik Prabhakar Chowdhary, Shubham Sarangi, Subhasish Bose, Narender, Adil Khan, Sandesh Jhingan
MIDFIELDERS: Rowllin Borges, Amarjit Singh, Jeakson Singh, Nandhakumar Sekar, Lalengmawia, Vinit Rai, Raynier Fernandes, Nikhil Poojary, Mawihmingthanga, Halicharan Narzary, Sahal Abdul Samad
FORWARDS: Farukh Choudhary, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Liston Colaco
Joining the camp on 16th March will be...
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith, Prabhsukhan Gill
DEFENDERS: Prabir Das, Rahul Bheke, Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Sumit Rathi, Seriton Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai
MIDFIELDERS: Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jackichand Singh
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Soosai Raj Micheal
The head coach is expected to try out and periodically release players until he is satisfied with a squad that's ready to take on Qatar on March 26th.
Perhaps the most notable names among those included are those of Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sandesh Jhingan; two national team regulars who have been out of competition for many months with injuries. Recently they both travelled to Europe to seek advanced recovery treatment and their inclusion in the camp has raised the hope that India will have some more experience at their disposal at the next game.
Long awaited call-ups given out to Seriton Fernandes, Michael Soosairaj, Prabir Das and Edwyn Sydney also stand out among the choices made by the gaffer.
India are yet to win a single match in the World Cup Qualifiers and their chances of making it to the next round are virtually non-existent. But the brightest moment of their campaign so far came on 10th September 2019 when the Blue Tigers held Qatar 0-0 in their own backyard. Knowing Qatar will arrive with the intention of setting the record straight, Stimac has signalled that he will leave no stone unturned in the preparations for this game.
This is the first time the Indian men's national team will play at Bhubaneswar. Even though there isn't much chance of progression, India can improve their rankings by a lot if they pick up a few wins and draws in the remaining matches of the World Cup Qualifiers.