Indian national football team head coach Igor Stimac announced an 18-day national team camp to "utilise the maximum time possible" before the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier against Qatar, scheduled to be played in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on March 26, 2020. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 07:30 PM IST. (More Football News)
"Time is very crucial for us. We have planned to utilise the maximum time possible, so we want to see as many players as possible before the Qatar match. As some players won't be able to join the camp because of their club commitments before the 16th, we'll use this time to assess other players," Stimac said.
23 players have been called up in the first phase of the training camp in Bhubaneswar on March 9 before 20 others, from four Indian Super League (ISL) semi-finalist teams, join on March 16.
Meanwhile, Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua, who were undergoing prolonged rehabilitation sessions, have been named in the first batch.
"Sandesh (Jhingan) and Jeje (Lalpekhlua) have been long-standing servers of Indian national team and I strongly believe in their abilities. I have been updated about their current medical status and we'll monitor them closely in Bhubaneswar too," Stimac added, "Amarjit [Kiyam] is also someone who can be very influential on the pitch. We want to see him as well along with others."
Jeakson Thounaojam, who etched his name in Indian history following his thunderous header against Colombia in the U-17 World Cup at the JLN Stadium in New Delhi on October 10, 2017 as the first footballer from the country to have scored in a FIFA World Cup match, has also earned his maiden call-up for the senior national team camp.
"It's a dream-come-true for me to get a call-up from senior team camp. Scoring the goal against Colombia is something that I shall always cherish but now I want to prove myself here. Sharing the dressing room with ones who I've always looked up to, is going to be a remarkable experience for me," an exultant Jeakson said.
Here’s a list of the 23 players who called up in the first batch:
GOALKEEPERS: Amrinder Singh, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Md. Rafique Ali Sardar.
DEFENDERS: Pratik Prabhakar Chowdhary, Shubham Sarangi, Subhasish Bose, Narender, Adil Khan, Sandesh Jhingan.
MIDFIELDERS: Rowllin Borges, Amarjit Kiyam, Jeakson Thounaojam, Nandhakumar Sekar, Lalengmawia, Vinit Rai, Raynier Fernandes, Nikhil Poojary, Mawihmingthanga, Halicharan Narzary, Sahal Abdul Samad.
FORWARDS: Farukh Choudhary, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Liston Colaco.
20 players, who will join the camp after the ISL final, on March 16:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith, Prabhsukhan Gill.
DEFENDERS: Prabir Das, Rahul Bheke, Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Sumit Rathi, Seriton Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai.
MIDFIELDERS: Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Kumam, Ashique Kuruniyan, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jackichand Telem.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Soosai Raj Micheal.
HEAD COACH: Igor Stimac.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine