Veteran centre-back Anas Edathodika comes out of retirement
Anas Edathodika has officially come out of retirement! Named in Igor Stimac’s preliminary squad for the upcoming Hero Intercontinental Cup in July. This will the second preparatory tournament as the Croat looks to find his ideal starting XI for the all-important World Cup qualifiers.
Anas has been one of the most solid centre-backs to pull on the national kit. Partnering Sandesh Jhingan at the heart of the defence, he was a reliable, tough tackling rock in front of Sandhu. Although he had announced his retirement from international football when India crashed out of the AFC Asian Cup earlier this year, a call from the coach himself seems to have done the trick.
The experienced veteran has been plagued with injuries in the past, but his recent performances in the Hero Indian Super League for Kerala Blasters have shown that he is back to his best. The wealth of experience he brings to the team with him is unparalleled. With so many youngsters being called up to the national team under Stimac, Anas would be a calming presence in the dressing room as well as on the training ground.
When asked about the gaffer, he said, "Coach Stimac has shown his faith in me and it's my turn to repay him. Coach messaged me to join the upcoming camp. Honestly, I was taken aback.” He went on to say, "Every coach has a different philosophy and see the game differently. We had some great results before and now all the boys whom I have spoken to, have lauded coach Stimac heavily.”
His return to the national setup would see more competition for a spot at the heart of the Indian defence. Given how much Stimac has emphasised on possession-based football, having defenders who are comfortable with the ball at their feet is vital. Anas has all the attributes to succeed in such a setup and is an exciting addition to the squad.