Show some resilience and creativity, Stimac to India footballers

Indian men’s football team head coach Igor Stimac has asked his players to “show some resilience and creativity” as the preparatory camp for international friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus on March 23 and 26, respectively is set to begin in Pune.

On Friday, Stimac named a list of 38 probables for the camp ahead of the friendlies in Bahrain, emphasising that “playing against better teams is the best way to improve our own game”.

The players along with Stimac and support staff will assemble in Pune on March 10. Those players whose clubs would be playing in the semifinals of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) will be joining the camp as and when their commitments end.

The list will be pruned later, and the contingent will fly to Bahrain on March 21.

“The two international friendlies are part of our preparations for the third round of qualifiers (for AFC Asian Cup 2023 in China), and we need to show some resilience and creativity,” said Stimac.

“The two matches should enable our players to mature, and gain more experience against stronger sides. But for all of them it’s the start of the competition to gain that coveted place in the starting line-up for the June qualifiers (AFC Asian Cup).

“I have been watching every single game and admiring the boys for giving everything they have for their clubs,” Stimac said.

“It’s been terrible for everyone involved since the pandemic started, but the job needs to be done. At the same time, we need to commend the super organisational capabilities of the two Leagues (ISL and I-League) being held simultaneously under current circumstances — that too when footballing activities all over have stumbled a bit,” added Stimac.

India will play the final round of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifying matches in Kolkata from June 8 onwards. India have been clubbed in Group D along with Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia. 24 teams have been divided into six groups and the group winners, and the five best 2nd placed teams will earn a ticket to the Asian Cup in China.

For the record, it’s the first national senior team call-up for eight players — Prabhshukhan Gill, Mohammad Nawaz, Deepak Tangri, Roshan Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, VP Suhair, Aniket Jadav, and Jerry Mawihmingthanga.

Probables’ list:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh, Prabhshukhan Gill, Mohammad Nawaz.

Defedners: Pritam Kotal, Ashutosh Mehta, Seriton Fernandes, Ashish Rai, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Deepak Tangri, Narender Gahlot, Chinglensana Singh, Subhashish Bose, Akash Mishra, Mandar Rao Dessai, Roshan Singh.

Midfirlders: Udanta Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Brandon Fernandes, VP Suhair, Lalengmawia, Sahal Abdul Samad, Yasir Mohammad, Ashique Kuruniyan, Aniket Jadav, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Jerry Mawihmingthanga.

Forwards: Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco, Sunil Chhetri, Rahim Ali.

20220304-144444

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