Intercontinental Cup 2019: 3 Players unlucky to miss out on India's final squad
- These three players' exclusion from the final squad of Intercontinental Cup just shows the cut-throat competition in Indian football.
India begins their Intercontinental Cup title defense on Sunday when they take on Central Asian nation Tajikistan. Head coach Igor Stimac has announced his final 25-member squad, which sees some new faces like Mandar Rao Desai, Jobby Justin, and Narender Gehlot.
Regulars from Stephen Constantine's era like Pritam Kotal, Pronay Halder Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sandesh Jhingan, and Udanta Singh were as usual included. Others who proved their caliber at King's Cup like Adil Khan, Brandon Fernandes, and Sahal Abdul Samad also retained their spot.
However, some players were unlucky to miss out despite their brilliant performances in club football. Here we take a look at them.
#3 Anwar Ali
Anwar Ali became one of the only two Indian Arrows players to get a King's Cup preliminary squad call-up. Many fans expected him to make his India debut by partnering alongside Sandesh Jhingan at the heart of the defense but an untimely injury meant he had to be axed.
Mumbai City FC identified his talent at the end of the 2017-18 season of the I-League itself when he played against them in the Super Cup. The 18-year-old was loaned back to the Arrows in the I-League, where he led the backline as the AIFF Developmental side finished seventh in the points table.
He marshaled the troops in the 2019 Super Cup as well, which kept a clean sheet against ISL side Kerala Blasters en route to routing them 2-0.
Anwar Ali got the call-up for Intercontinental Cup and played for India White in the intra-team practice game at the Mumbai Football Arena. However, his partner-in-crime Narender Gehlot got the nod ahead of him in the final squad.
Igor Stimac has named four centre-backs- Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Narender Gehlot, and Adil Khan. All of them are likely to get match time but it remains to be seen which one of them starts against Tajikistan in the curtain raiser.