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Igor Stimac announces list of probables for upcoming friendlies

Indian football team posing f
Indian football team posing for a team photograph ahead of a match

Indian national football  team head coach Igor Stimac has announced a 35-men list of probables for friendlies against Oman and UAE later in March.

The traveling contingent will only have the final 28 players selected for the preparatory camp and the final list will be announced on 13th March ahead of the camp’s commencement on 15th March in Dubai. Stimac explained his decision to name seven extra players in the preliminary list. He said,

“We have kept 35 players in the list as a cushion in case any player picks up an injury during the HISL playoffs.”

Out of the 35 players selected, 10 players have been called up by the Indian senior national team for the first time. Mumbai City’s Bipin Singh, Hyderabad’s Akash Mishra, and Liston Colaco, Bengaluru’s Suresh Singh are some of the 10 names called up for the first time to an Indian national camp.

The coach also talked about how refreshing it is to assemble as a national team once again after a hard pandemic followed by four months of living in a strict bio-bubble in Goa. 

The Croatian said,

“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.”

When asked about the players who were in the plans but couldn’t make it due to injuries, the coach named four notable absentees in Brandon Fernandes, Rahul Bheke, Sahal Abdul Samad, and Asish Rai.

6 players out of the 35 probables are from Hyderabad, the most for any club in Indian football. Both Bengaluru and Mumbai City have 5 players each with ATK Mohun Bagan, Goa, and NorthEast United having 4 players each. Excellent performances from Lenny Rodrigues, Glan Martins, and Pronay Halder were ignored by Stimac to accommodate young central midfielders like Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia, and Jeakson Singh.

The 53-year old coach also talked about how tough it has been for the players to play every week while staying in a bio-secure bubble, especially for those players who are involved in the playoffs and will be traveling the next day after playing in the ISL final. 

He said,

“I know the season was a tough one and players might be overloaded. 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 35-member list of probables

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, Mohammad Yasir, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Liston Colaco, Halicharan Narzary, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan, Rahul KP, Hitesh Sharma, Farukh Choudhary 

Forwards: Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Ishan Pandita 

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