India vs China: Coach Stephen Constantine announces 22-man squad sans Balwant Singh
Coach Stephen Constantine announced his 22-member squad for India's first-ever international fixture in China, which is scheduled for October 13 at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Suzhou City. The game kicks off at 17:05 hours IST.
As informed by coach Constantine earlier, Balwant Singh had to be dropped from the squad. The passport held by the striker expires in less than six months and he was thereby denied visa to enter China. Fellow striker Manvir Singh will also miss the game as Constantine trimmed the squad from 29 to 22.
Midfielders Germanpreet Singh and Souvik Chakraborti missed out on a berth to China. Young goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was let go, while midfielders Lallianzuala Chhangte and Bikash Jairu were the other ones missing from the 22-man list.
Out of the 17 face-offs between these two sides so far, the Red Dragons have won on 12 occasions. The rest of the five matches have ended in a stalemate.
During the media interaction at the JLN Stadium before the team's departure on Tuesday night, Constantine mentioned that although the match was labelled as a 'friendly', it was a serious affair for the entire team.
"Friendly or no-friendly, it’s the Indian National Team," Constantine said. "It’s only a friendly game for the world but not us. We will go all out. These boys have to earn their position in the team for the Asian Cup and they have to prove their worth on the pitch."
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Meanwhile, the two national teams are going to lock horns after a prolonged gap of 21 years. In their previous meeting, which took place in the Nehru Cup in Kochi in 1997, China pipped India 2-1.
The 22-member squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Karanjit Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Sarthak Golui, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Halicharan Narzary, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sumeet Passi, Farukh Choudhary.