Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac has named a 35-man probable squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 25 and 29 respectively. 10 new faces have earned their maiden call up to the national squad, courtesy of their superlative showing in the 2020-21 ISL season.
The final list, comprising of 28 players, will be announced after the ISL final on March 13. The Indian football team will assemble for a preparatory camp in Dubai from March 15 onwards.
Igor Stimac told the AIFF:
“We have kept 35 players in the list as a cushion in case any player picks up an injury during the HISL playoffs. It’s been a difficult year for all of us and finally, we are all getting together. It will be great to meet some new young guns and to check how bright our future is with them. The two matches against Oman and UAE mean a lot to Indian Football. It’s been a while since we last played and this is a great opportunity to check where we stand at the moment.”
Igor Stimac acknowledged the physical toll that the season would have taken on the players, but claimed that the two-week break would be enough to help them get refreshed.
“I know the season was a tough one and players might be overloaded," Stimac said. "But we have enough time to refresh their legs and brains. However, many of them will have a break of two weeks without any organized training sessions prior to joining the camp. Hopefully, they will execute their individual working plans.”
The likes of Brandon Fernandes, Sahal Abdul Samad, and Ashish Rai have been dropped due to injury concerns. Notable inclusions in the Indian football team squad are Ashutosh Mehta, Ishan Pandita, Akash Mishra, Bipin Singh, Lalengmawia, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammed, Jeakson Singh, and Suresh Singh.
The exclusions of Jerry Mawihimingthanga, Arindam Bhattacharya, Pronay Haldar, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Alexander Jesuraj, Edwin Sydney, Subhasish Bose and VP Suhair have raised a few eyebrows.
Indian football team probable squad for Oman and UAE friendlies
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Seriton Fernandes, Ashutosh Mehta, Akash Mishra, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Chinglensana Singh, Sarthak Golui, Adil Khan, Mandar Rao Dessai, Prabir Das, Mashoor Shereef.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Rowllin Borges, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Bipin Singh, Yasir Mohammad, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Halicharan Narzary, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan, Rahul KP, Hitesh Sharma, Farukh Choudhary.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Ishan Pandita.