Glan Martins hopes to translate AFC Champions League success to international level

Glan Martins made it to the Indian national team set-up for the first time in his career when Igor Stimac named him in the 28-member probables list on Wednesday for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifiers in Doha.

The central midfielder made his Hero ISL debut with ATK Mohun Bagan in the 2020-21 season but after limited opportunities moved to FC Goa during the January transfer window and didn’t take long to become a rock in front of the defence there. The 26-year-old followed it up with another good outing in the group stage of the AFC Champions League.

“I was giving my best every time I got on the pitch, didn’t matter whether it was in training or match. I have put in a lot of hard work all these years and got a call-up. Now it’s time to prove myself at the highest level,” Glan told the Times of India before leaving for Doha along with the team on Wednesday.

Glan helped the Gaurs to a sixth semi-final appearance in the Hero ISL. In the AFC Champions League campaign, he went from strength to strength as Juan Ferrando’s men, against all odds, finished third in their group ahead of Qatari club Al Rayyan SC.

Glan expects his AFC Champions League experience to stand him in good stead whenever he gets an opportunity to play for the national team.

 “The AFC Champions League has given me the confidence to perform at the highest level. We have played among the best teams in Asia, so it will help me a lot in the national team,” he said.

As many as five players from FC Goa make up the 28-member list -- Brandon Fernandes, Adil Khan, Ishan Pandita and goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh being the other four. In the AFC Champions League, Brandon made waves too as he provided two assists for the Gaurs.

FC Goa’s director of football Ravi Puskur heaped praise on the duo. “I’m sure Glan will add an extra layer of steel to the midfield if given the opportunity to go out there and perform. Brandon and Glan showed they were well capable of going toe-to-toe against some of the best players in Asian football and I’m sure they’ll be able to perform at a similar level for the national team as well,” he said.

The Blue Tigers will first take on Asian champions Qatar on June 3, followed by Bangladesh on June 7 and Afghanistan on June 15. All matches will be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.

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