AFC picks Dheeraj Singh as one among 11 to watch out for in 2023

AFC picks Dheeraj Singh as one among 11 to watch out for in 2023

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Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, 22, of FC Goa, has been chosen by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as one of 11 players who will "leave their mark on the game" in 2023. For the second year in a row, Dheeraj is FC Goa's first-choice keeper in the 2022–23 Indian Super League (ISL).

He now has four clean sheets, just one less than Vishal Kaith of ATK Mohun Bagan, who has five. "Having been within India set up several times, the Manipur-born goalkeeper will be eyeing an international debut as one of his key objectives for 2023," the AFC website said about Dheeraj.

Dheeraj has so far represented India's U17 and U23 teams. The goalkeeper for the senior squad throughout this period has been 30-year-old Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. At the club level, Dheeraj's career has been boosted by his transfer to FC Goa. Before then, he had spent the previous two years sitting on the bench for ATK Mohun Bagan.

When FC Goa made their AFC Champions League debut in 2021/22, Dheeraj had his greatest performance to date, with a group stage record 26 saves. He became the first Indian player to be chosen to the AFC Champions League squad of the season.

Other Asian players recognised by the AFC as potential breakout performers in 2023 include Zidane Iqbal, one of Manchester United's most promising young players, and Garang Kuol, the Australian who missed a last-second opportunity to tie the FIFA World Cup match against Argentina and bring the score to 2-2. Iqbal has previously played in the UEFA Champions League, but he now intends to play in the Premier League for the first time as an Iraqi.

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