Stephen Constantine has announced a 28-man Indian preliminary football squad for the preparations in Abu Dhabi, UAE ahead of the prestigious AFC Asian Cup in January. The preparatory camp with 34 players was held earlier this year and the 23-man team will be selected later.
Earlier, this week 34 probable players joined a preparatory camp out of which attacking midfielders Sahal Abdul Samad from Kerala Blasters and ATK’s Komal Thatal have missed the ticket to UAE. Defenders from Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC Nishu Kumar and Jerry Lalrinzuala are also not a part of the squad because of injury.
“Nishu Kumar, Jerry Lalrinzuala are out of the squad. Jerry has a knee injury,” confirmed Stephen Constantine at a send-off press conference in New Delhi, reported Scroll.
The Indian national team will have two and a half weeks of preparation and will meet Oman on December 27 as a part of it. India will kick-start its campaign in the tournament against Thailand on January 6 followed by matches against host United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on January 10 and January 14 respectively.
“We generally sent letters to associations expressing interest in international or in some cases, I know the coach personally. Carlos Queiroz called me personally and asked me if I would like to play on the 27th,” the Indian head coach explained.
“We approached 25-30 nations asking for games for the Asian Cup. If we had more matches, it would have been good but it’s not for the lack of trying. We’ve had some good warm-up games against big opponents such as China, Jordan and Oman.”
28-man Indian Squad:
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Lalruatthara, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary, Sumeet Passi