Bengaluru FC players make a comeback as India name squad for Macau
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has announced a 24-man squad that will travel to Macau for their AFC Asian Cup qualifier on September 5. Head coach Stephen Constantine has stuck to the squad that won the recently concluded Hero Tri-Nation Series held in Mumbai, and further bolstered it with some strong inclusions.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and striker Sunil Chhetri had missed out on the tri-series due to their commitments for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup, but they are back for the all-important qualifier against Macau. While Gurpreet would be the obvious first choice between the sticks, Chhetri would be wearing the captain’s armband, taking over from Sandesh Jhingan who led the squad in his absence. With Subrata Paul and Albino Gomes as the two other goalkeepers, India have included four strikers– Chhetri, Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Robin Singh adding a lot of depth in that department.
Another Bengaluru FC player, winger Udanta Singh, is also making a comeback into the squad. With Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Halicharan Narzary, Jackichand Singh, and Rowllin Borges already giving the midfield a formidable look, Udanta’s pace and trickery would be an added advantage for his team.
The defence would be marshalled by the ever-reliant Sandesh Jhingan, who also has the experience of Arnab Mondal with him besides his now-regular centre-back partner Anas Edathodika. Add to that, Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal provide enough width for the defence on the left and right respectfully, making the backline a very strong unit.
Part of the squad would also include four of India’s most talented youngsters. Left-back Jerry Lalrinzuala had an impressive Hero Indian Super League (ISL) campaign last year. The teenager’s pace and exceptional ground coverage on the flanks is second to none. Midfielder Nikhil Poojary has impressed Constantine enough to earn his reckoning and the 21-year-old would be keen to make an impact. Another teenager who has made it to the squad is fellow midfielder Anirudh Thapa, and he too would want to cash in on this opportunity. 21-year-old Germanpreet Singh, Thapa’s fellow Chennaiyin FC midfielder, also makes Constantine’s list and is an equally talented ball player who will want to leave a mark.
By the looks of it, this is probably the strongest squad India could come up with. Taking the recent form into account, India’s prospects look bright. Hopefully the boys will manage to come back home with the points in the bag.
India take on Macau on September 5. Stay tuned to our website and social platforms for the latest updates.