There were reports that the match could be cancelled owing to various issues that arose after flash floods in the Middle-East. But the AIFF released a statement confirming that the match will go ahead as scheduled.
India look to take on @JordanFA amidst huge obstacles.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) November 17, 2018
India vs Jordan: Preview
In the build-up to the international friendly between India and Jordan, India was dealt a mighty blow when Sunil Chhetri was ruled out of the friendlies due to an ankle injury. After Bengaluru FC’s match against Kerala Blasters, the scans revealed a 2 week rest for the 34-year old marvel much to the dismay of Blue Tigers’ fans and to the fortune of Bengaluru FC fans.
This meant Stephen Constantine was given more leeway to make outlandish statements in the team selection and the press conferences before the fixture. The 30-member squad announced for the friendly was in every way off-centric even by Constantine’s standards. He decided to include Komal Thatal to give him some ‘experience with the NT’. With AFC Asia Cup looming large, it is absolutely amateurish to get players into the squad for experience.
On 14 Nov, the FB page of AIFF live-streamed the Stephen Constantine press conference to give us a preview of the big friendly. The half an hour video, where Constantine talked about his team selection, Sunil Chhetri injury, his plans to tame Jordan and much more was a sight for the sore eyes. Constantine’s actions have never exuded any confidence but neither have his words. “Sunil Chhetri is irreplaceable but we need somebody who can take his place for us, Komal Thatal has been included in the squad for NT experience“.
Komal Thatal did score the lone goal against Bengaluru FC in his debut start but there are certainly others waiting for a long time. Indian football twitteratti exploded with this announcement. Michael Soosairaj was not included in the team. Even Mandar Rao Desai and Brandon Fernandes have been anxiously awaiting their national team call-up.
Komal Thatal, with the right amount of guidance and exposure, under the likes of Steve Coppell (NOT Stephen Constantine) will certainly go on to be the goalscoring attacker that India has been longing for. But to receive a national team call-up when you have barely had any minutes under your belt in the Indian football leagues.
Soon after the press conference, Constantine announced the 22-member squad to travel to Amman.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala.
Mid-fielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Germanpreet Singh, Halicharan Narzary, Ashique Kuruniyan.
Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sumeet Passi, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh.
Although the team has largely remained the same over that last year with the coach trying to bring instability to the set-up, the non-inclusion of more than 1 I-League player is worth pondering upon. Surely there are few I-league players who could’ve been given the chance. The 18-year old Naorem Mahesh Singh has been making the right kind of noise with Shillong Lajong FC and surely could have been given a chance for an ‘experience’.
Danish Bhat, a name synonymous with Real Kashmir FC right from their 2nd division days has been exceptional for them.
India comes off the back of a successful run their international fixtures. They drew 0-0 with China on Oct 13. Previously in the SAFF Cup where Constantine fielded a U-23 team, India surprisingly lost to a lowly ranked Maldives in the final 2-1. SAFF was largely a successful outing where they overcome Sri Lanka (2-0) and Maldives (2-0) and then overcame Pakistan (3-1) in the semifinals.
Jordan, however, come on the back off an unsuccessful run. Jordan lost away to World Cup finalists Croatia 2-1 the same week India played out a goalless draw with China. Previous in their friendlies, Jordan has had goalless draws with Albania and Oman and lost 1-0 to Lebanon. Jordan is currently ranked 112 in the FIFA rankings as opposed to India’s 97.
Players to watch out for
Pronay Halder and Anirudh Thapa whoa are expected to orchestrate the midfield will be hoping for another strong show. In the absence of Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhua and Balwant Singh are most likely expected to be in the starting line-up and will look to put their bad performances behind and step up in the absence of the stalwart. The centre-back pairing of Subashish Bose and the stand-in captain Sandesh Jhingan will be crucial to keep the Jordan team in check.
Kick-Off: 17th November at 2230 Hrs IST
Live Stream: Star Network and Hotstar
Venue: King Abdullah Stadium, Amman.
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