India U-23 manager Derrick Pereira today named a 23-man squad that will travel to Qatar to play in a friendly, on March 11, against the Asian Champions' U-23 side, in the build-up to the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers, which will be held in Uzbekistan later this month.
Pereira had initially named a 37-man squad for the preparatory camp in Goa, but among others, Anirudh Thapa, Mohammad Nawaz, Nishu Kumar and Sairuat Kima missed the camp, owing to their club commitments in the playoffs of the ongoing ISL.
Ashique Kuruniyan was left out as well, with the FC Pune City man being ruled out due to an injury.
The qualifiers, which will be held in Uzbekistan, will see India kicking off their campaign against the hosts on 22 March 2019. It will be followed by the match against Turkmenistan two days later.
India were slated to play Pakistan, who were also drawn in the same group, but they have pulled out of the tournament, leaving India
To qualify for the main tournament in Thailand, India need to top their Group F or finish as one of the four best second-placed teams from among the 11 groups.
In the previous edition of the AFC U-23 Qualifiers, India finished third in the group behind Qatar and Syria. Their only solace in the tournament was a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan after losing 0-2 and 0-1 to Qatar and Syria respectively.
Speaking to reporters in Goa during the camp, Pereira said the Qatar game would be a difficult test for the Indian youngsters, and that he expected to see a lot of the players who would play this game for Qatar to make their squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Full Squad
GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill
DEFENDERS: Narender, Sarthak Golui, Wungngayam Muirang, Mehtab Singh, Anwar Ali, Asish Rai
MIDFIELDERS: Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Deepak Tangri, Rohit Kumar, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Komal Thatal, Boris Singh Thangjam, Rahul Kanoly Praveen
FORWARDS: Liston Colaco, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Rahim Ali, Rohit Danu