New Delhi, March 2nd (PTI) National soccer coach Igor Stimac added 10 new players to his 35-strong list of probabilities for India’s consecutive international friendlies against Oman and the United Arab Emirates, which will be held in Dubai on March 25th, on Tuesday are to be held 29 each.
The final list of 28 players will be announced after the Indian Super League final on March 13th. The players will then gather for a preparatory camp in Dubai from March 15th.
“We kept 35 players on the list as a cushion in case a player sustained an injury during the ISL playoffs,” said Stimac in a press release.
Commenting on the new faces, Stimac said, “It’s been a difficult year for all of us and eventually we will all come together. It will be great to meet new young guns and see how bright our future is with them.”
The Croatian World Cup said the two games against Oman and the UAE were crucial as the team had not played an international match in more than a year.
“It’s been a while since we last played and this is a great opportunity to see where we are at the moment,” said the coach.
“I know the season has been difficult and the players may be overwhelmed, but we have enough time to refresh their legs and brains. However, many of them have a two week break with no organized training sessions before coming to camp Hopefully they will carry out their individual work schedules, “he said.
According to Stimac, Brandon Fernandes, Rahul Bheke, Sahal Abdul Samad and Asish Rai were not on the list as they are currently nursing injuries.
India last played in the international arena in November 2019 – at the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan (in Tajikistan) and Oman (in Muscat).
India have scored three points in the five games they have played in qualifying so far. Two home games against the Asian champions Qatar and Afghanistan as well as an away game against Bangladesh are still pending.
The international friendlies against Oman and the United Arab Emirates are part of India’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers in June.
India does not expect a place for the 2022 World Cup, but is still fighting to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Seriton Fernandes, Ashutosh Mehta, Akash Mishra, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Chinglensana Singh, Sarthak Golui, Adil Khan, Mandar Rao Dessai, Prabir Das, Mashoor Shereef.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Rowllin Borges, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Bipin Singh, Yasir Mohammad, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Halicharan Narzary, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan, Rahul KP, Hitesh Sharma.
Forward: Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Ishan Pandita.
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