28 probables to fly to Doha for camp ahead of June qualifiers
A 28-member Indian national team squad will leave for Doha on Wednesday, May 19, for India’s three forthcoming matches in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifiers, slated to be played from June 3 onwards.
As per the health parameters required to travel to Qatar, all the travelling players and staff carry with them negative test results from the RTPCR tests conducted in the last 48 hours. All of them were also in isolation in the capital under the bio bubble at the team hotel from May 15 onwards.
National coach Igor Stimac stated that although it is not the 'ideal situation' ahead of the June qualifiers, the Blue Tigers will be putting in 'intense' sessions before their matches get underway.
“It’s not an ideal situation as we move ahead to the qualifiers in June. Due to the pandemic, our national camp which was slated to begin in Kolkata at the beginning of May got cancelled. The pandemic also robbed us of a friendly match in Dubai,” he said.
“However, we understand the magnitude of the situation, and it will be intense sessions in Doha to raise the tempo and try to get ready for the matches which starts with the one against Asian Champions Qatar in Doha,” Stimac added.
India are scheduled to play Asian Champions Qatar on June 3, Bangladesh on June 7, and Afghanistan on June 15 with all three matches to be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha. Among the 28 named, Glan Martins is the only one to feature in the national team camp for the first time.
Meanwhile, national team captain Sunil Chhetri expressed his relief to get back into the set-up. “It’s such a relief to be back in the national team squad – after all, home is where the heart is. Personally, I am eagerly looking forward to being in Doha. The last time I was in Doha, I couldn’t be a part of the match against Qatar owing to illness,” Sunil, who has 72 international goals to his name, opined.
“The matches in June are extremely tough and we need to take them one at a time. Given the fact that we don’t have much time, the preparatory camp will add immense value helping all to gel together, and strike that chord ahead of the first match.
“Doha has always had an emotional connection with me. It was there that I played in the 2011 Asian Cup, and also the AFC Cup final for my club Bengaluru FC,” he added.
The upcoming matches are being played in Doha on account of the COVID-19 situation which doesn’t allow the original format of home and away matches. India are currently on three points from five matches in Group E.
The senior national team has already had a camp earlier this year in Dubai, after the completion of the domestic season, following which, they participated in two FIFA international friendlies against Oman and the UAE.
June 3: India vs Qatar (IST 10.30pm).
June 7: Bangladesh vs India (IST 7.30pm).
June 15: India vs Afghanistan (IST 7.30pm).
The 28-member squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Narender Gahlot, Chinglensana Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Akash Mishra, Subhasish Bose
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Rowllin Borges, Glan Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Suresh Wangjam, Lalengmawia Ralte, Sahal Abdul Samad, Mohammed Yasir, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.