Ahead of the Indian team's international friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus, their head coach Igor Stimac has called upon some new faces for the preparatory camp in Pune. for the Indian national team against Bahrain and Belarus,
The likes of VP Suhair, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Naorem Roshan Singh, and Anwar Ali have been summoned for national duty after their successful individual campaigns in the Indian Super League. All of them are delighted at the prospect of representing their country.
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Bengaluru FC narrowly missed out on a top-four spot in the ISL. However, Roshan Singh had an impressive season with the Blues. Among the defenders in the league, the young full-back has the highest tally of assists, at seven. Speaking about the Indian football team team call-up, Roshan told the AIFF Media Team:
"Growing up in Manipur as a kid, I always dreamt of representing my country at the senior level. There are many top players in the camp from the best clubs in the country – all of whom are much more experienced than me. I understand I will have to work incredibly hard to prove myself."
Meanwhile, Suhair, who is also in the camp, was one of NorthEast United FC's brightest attacking outlets in an otherwise dull season. He expressed similar joy after receiving the call-up to the Indian national team.
"This is a dream come true for me, not just for me, but my entire family. I have not stopped training since playing my last competitive match, and am on a strict diet, and have approached all fitness sessions with extreme seriousness prior to joining the camp."
Another youngster who impressed in the ISL was Odisha FC winger Jerry Mawihmingthanga. He scored a memorable brace against Mumbai City FC in one of the league-stage matches. The 24-year-old termed the opportunity as a chance to prove his worth for the Indian national team.
“I am grateful to the coach for his appreciation of my efforts. This is my chance to prove my worth, and I need to work harder, and will do my best."
For fans who followed India in the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup, the story of this ISL season was Anwar Ali's return to top-tier football. Things just seem to be going the right way for Anwar. Since appearing for FC Goa in the league, he has also been called up for the preparatory camp.
“I am extremely excited to get a call for the senior team camp. I need to make the most of the call up in my effort to cement my place in the team."
Another first-timer in the Indian national team's national camp is Bengaluru FC midfielder Danish Farooq, who has scored three goals this season. Danish called the opportunity "one of the sweetest moments" but underlined that this was only the first step. The Srinagar-born player said he would try to work harder to get onto the final list.
The Indian national team are set to square off against Bahrain on March 23, followed by a match against Belarus on March 26. So far, 15 players have reported to the camp, with the rest of the squad scheduled to join after their club commitments end in the ongoing ISL.