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The Asian Games provides an excellent platform for Asian nations to compete and showcase their sporting talents. Football has been a regular part of the Asian Games program since the inaugural edition in 1951. Initially, the football event at the Asian Games welcomed senior national teams. However, from the 2002 Asian Games, it shifted to an under-23 format, allowing a maximum of three players above 23. This change was made to align with the rules of the Olympic football tournament, which also features under-23 squads.
The Growth of India’s Men’s Football Team
The Indian men’s football team holds the 99th spot in the latest FIFA rankings. In their group for the Asian Games, they are the second-best ranked team, alongside China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The team’s recent success in winning the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Cup has earned them a special exemption, allowing them to participate in the Asian Games after nine years. The Indian team has a proud history at the Asian Games, with gold medals in 1951 and 1962, and a bronze in 1970. They carry a legacy of excellence and represent the aspirations of a nation that is rapidly improving its footballing skills and dreaming of greater achievements on the continental stage.
As per government rules, teams that rank eighth or better in Asia are only allowed to take part in continental events like the Asian Games. It was the reason that Indian football teams did not play in Jakarta in the 2018 Asian Games. However, the current Indian men’s team is ranked 18th in Asia, making them eligible for the upcoming Asian Games with the exception provided by the govt. This presents a great opportunity for India to showcase their progress and talent at the continental stage.
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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced a 22-member Indian men’s football team for the Asian Games 2023. The team will represent India in the prestigious tournament, scheduled to take place in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, from September 23 to October 8. Comprising a total of 22 skilled and dedicated players, the squad is led by Head Coach Igor Stimac, who has been instrumental in shaping the team’s performance and strategy.
Senior players, including the iconic striker Sunil Chhetri and defender Sandesh Jhingan, add valuable experience and leadership to the team. These stars will guide and mentor the young talents in the under-23 category, as only three players above 23 have been allowed per team since 2002. Their expertise and guidance will play a crucial role as the team aims to leave a mark on the grand stage of Asian Football in Hangzhou, China.
India Men’s Football Squad for Asian Games 2023
- Goalkeepers: Gurmeet Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.
- Defenders: Sumit Rathi, Narender Gahlot, Deepak Tangri, Sandesh Jhingan, Chinglensana Singh, Lalchungnunga.
- Midfielders: Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Samuel James Lyngdoh, Rahul KP, Abdul Rabeeh, Ayush Dev Chhetri, Bryce Miranda, Azfar Noorani, Vincy Barretto.
- Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Rahim Ali, Rohit Danu, Gurkirat Singh, Aniket Jadhav.
- Head coach: Igor Stimac
The Indian Football Squad Men’s for the Asian Games 2023 is a well-balanced team with experienced leaders and promising young players. This squad represents the aspirations of a nation that is rapidly developing its footballing prowess and dreams of achieving greater heights on the continental stage. Their recent success and improved FIFA rankings have earned them the opportunity to participate in the Asian Games after a nine-year absence. As they compete in Hangzhou, China, they aim to make their mark and elevate Indian Football to greater heights.