Indian football: 5 players who could become regulars under Igor Stimac
After the third-place finish in the Kings Cup invitational tournament in Thailand a month ago, India will embark on a new journey under Igor Stimac, this time at home, in the Hero Intercontinental Cup, starting on Sunday.
India will play the opener against Tajikistan, who are ranked 19 places below them. It will be the second major tournament under new coach Stimac and it will provide an opportunity for the youngsters of the team to showcase their talent once again.
Most of the players who impressed in the Kings Cup are there in the team and have a ‘new’ face in Anas Edathodika, who retired after India’s disappointing ouster at the Asian Cup.
Stimac has earlier promised to give the young players more chance to build their confidence. On that note, Sportskeeda looks at the five players who could become regulars in this Indian team:
#5 Adil Khan
The Indian team that conceded three goals within a span of 18 minutes against Curacao in the Kings Cup opener proved that something was not right. The presence of a strong central defender was imminent as Rahul Bheke witnessed a horrendous time playing in that position in his debut match for India.
Adil Khan, who returned to the Indian team after a long gap, was deployed in that role in the very next match against Thailand and without a doubt, he came out with flying colours. Not only did he save the day for India, he also assisted the only goal of the match. His performance earned him the player of the match award.
The FC Pune City player would be raring to go in the upcoming Hero Intercontinental Cup. The date happens to be his birthday and Adil would want to cement his place in the Indian team.
However, Anas Edathodika, who hung up his boots after India’s shocking exit from Asian Cup in January, has come out of his retirement to join the national camp. He has since been practicing with the team and may get an opportunity in the starting line-up if coach Igor Stimac considers him to be fit.
In that case, there is a chance Adil will be deployed as defensive midfielder, a position that he occupies for his team FC Pune City. Adil’s ability to block the attackers and provide useful passes might come into consideration.