Igor Stimac | AP
New Delhi: India men's football coach Igor Stimac on Sunday named a list of 23 players for the forthcoming SAFF Championship which kicks off in the Maldives from October 1 onwards. The final of the championship is slated for October 16.
The players and the support staff will assemble in Bengaluru tomorrow (Monday, September 27), and will fly out to the Maldives the next day. Stimac and other members of the technical staff will join the squad directly in the Maldives on the same day.
Besides India - Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and hosts the Maldives are the other teams in the Championship. Each team plays each other once with the top two teams qualifying for the final.
Stimac in an official AIFF release stated, "We are all looking forward to the SAFF Championship as the leading football country in this part of Asia. These 4-5 games are extremely crucial for us as we won't have any other chance of getting together before the start of 3rd round AFC Asian Cup qualifiers next season. So these matches should help us to improve a few points in our game."
The Blue Tigers have won the SAFF Championship (formerly SAARC Cup) 7 times - 1993 in Lahore, 1997 in Kathmandu, 1999 in Margao, 2005 in Karachi, 2009 (U23 squad) in Dhaka, 2011 in New Delhi), 2015-16 in Thiruvananthapuram.
India begin their campaign against Bangladesh on October 4.
The list of 23 probables is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.