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AFC Asian Cup 2019: India announce 34-man probable squad; Rahul Bheke, Michael Soosairaj miss out

SENIOR ANALYST
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3.24K   //    11 Dec 2018, 20:17 IST

Bengaluru FC's Rahul Bheke, November's Fans' Player of the Month, is strangely missing from the squad
Bengaluru FC's Rahul Bheke, November's Fans' Player of the Month, is strangely missing from the squad

What's the story?

A 34-man probable squad for India's campaign in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the double friendly against Oman and Syria has been announced. Sportskeeda received a confirmation from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) regarding the same.

A lot of prominent players who have performed brilliantly for their clubs, like Rahul Bheke, Seimenlen Doungel, Thoi Singh, and Jobi Justin have missed out. On the other hand, a lot of underperforming players like Sumeet Passi, Balwant Singh, and Sarthak Golui have made the cut. Michael Soosairaj was injured but he's back in training for Jamshedpur FC.

It looks as if Stephen Constantine was playing possum with the fans by watching the matches from the stands. The Englishman has stuck to the same tried and tested formula rather than giving others an opportunity. Sahal Abdul Samad of Kerala Blasters is the only player in the squad to receive his first call-up.

In case you don't know...

India qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup by topping Group A of the qualifiers ahead of Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Macau. They had missed out on the 2015 edition of the tournament and will be making an appearance after eight years.

In the build-up to the quadrennial extravaganza, the Blue Tigers hosted and won the Intercontinental Cup, finished runners-up in the 2018 SAFF Cup with their U-23 squad with the exception of Sumeet Passi, held China to a 0-0 drawn, and lost to Jordan 1-2 away from home.

The heart of the matter

Here is the 34-member squad:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC), Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC), Arindam Bhattacharya (ATK), Vishal Kaith (FC Pune City) 

Defenders: Pritam Kotal (Delhi Dynamos), Sarthak Golui (FC Pune City), Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters), Anas Edathodika (Kerala Blasters), Salam Ranjan Singh (East Bengal), Subhasish Bose (Mumbai City FC), Narayan Das (Delhi Dynamos), Nishu Kumar (Bengaluru FC), Lalruatthara (Kerala Blasters), Jerry Lalrinzuala (Chennaiyin FC)

Midfielders: Udanta Singh (Bengaluru FC), Nikhil Poojary (FC Pune City), Pronay Halder (ATK), Rowllin Borges (Northeast United FC), Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin FC), Vinit Rai (Delhi Dynamos), Halicharan Narzary (Kerala Blasters), Ashique Kuruniyan (FC Pune City), Germanpreet Singh (Chennaiyin FC), Bikash Jairu (Jamshedpur FC), Lallianzuala Chhangte (Delhi Dynamos), Sahal Samad (Kerala Blasters), Komal Thatal (ATK), Jackichand Singh (FC Goa) 

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Forwards: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC), Sumeet Passi (Jamshedpur FC), Farukh Choudhary (Jamshedpur FC), Balwant Singh (Mumbai City FC), Manvir Singh (FC Goa) 

What's next?

India will kick-off their 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign against Thailand on 6th January at the Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. It will be followed up by matches against the hosts UAE on 10th of January at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain at the Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah.

For the latest updates of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, click here.

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