- Football head coach Igor Stimac announced India's 26-membered for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman.
- Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem received his first-ever senior Indian football team call-up.
- India will play against Afghanistan on 14th November.
Football head coach Igor Stimac announced India’s 26-membered for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman. The biggest surprise of the announcement was Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, who received his first ever senior Indian football team call-up.
The FIFA Under-17 World Cup star currently represents Indian Super League side ATK although he is yet to make an appearance for the Kolkata-based franchise in the ongoing season.
“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,” the coach said in a statement of All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The other two keepers are Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh. The latter will be very much eyeing the former’s place, having come up with some good performances in the ongoing ISL.
Adil Khan and Anas Edathodika would be the prime choices for the central defence while Rahul Bheke will face some competition from Pritam Kotal for the right flank.
Pronay Halder, Jackichand Singh, and Seiminlen Doungel have been called back to the squad after some impressive show in ISL.
Manvir Singh and Farukh Choudhary will join Sunil Chhetri in the attack.
Speaking about the back-to-back away fixtures, skipper Chhetri said, “It’s 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.”
Talking about the shortlisting of the team, Stimac said, “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 continued. “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.”
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Amrinder Singh
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Nishu Kumar, Narender, Anas Edathodika, Adil Khan, Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Mandar Rao Dessai
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Seiminlen Doungel, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh