Bengaluru, February 14: Derrick Pereira has been appointed the coach of the India U-23 team for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Qualifiers to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from March 22.
Pereira, who is currently the technical director of Indian Super League (ISL) outfit FC Goa, will be in charge of the preparatory camp, which begins in Goa from March 2.
Besides India, the other teams in the group are Tajikistan and Pakistan, with Uzbekistan being the hosts.
As part of the preparations, the team will also be playing a friendly match against Qatar U-23 team in Doha on March 11.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das said Pereira's experience will be invaluable for the U-23 team.
"His coaching pedigree along with AFC Pro Licence degree is the perfect recipe to guide our young players in the AFC U-23 qualifiers. We aim to qualify from the group to the AFC Championship next year, and I wish him and the team good luck," Das said.
Pereira said it was a honour to be associated to with the national team.
"It's an absolute honour to get associated with the national team set-up. I love to take challenges," he said.
"I know most of the players and have seen them in action. But we need to find the right combination to perform and achieve the desired results," Pereira added.
National team director Abhishek Yadav, shared his views, "The experience of Derrick (Pereira) as a coach will be important for our team. The preparatory camp will be followed by a practice match against Qatar U-23 which will be a huge test."
Pereira stressed the challenge against Qatar will be "tough."
"They're a quality side. I've a feeling that some of the U-23 boys from Qatar will be in their FIFA 2022 World Cup squad. It'll be a tough challenge which'll help us prepare for future assignments," he added.
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Nawaz, Prabhsukhan Gill, Arshdeep Singh, Dheeraj Singh.
Defenders: Nishu Kumar, Kamalpreet Singh, Provat Lakra, Boris Singh, Sajid Dhot, Sairuatkima, Sarthak Golui, Sahil Panwar, Gaurav Bora, Narender Gahlot, Mehtab Singh, Anwar Ali, Wung Muirang, Asish Rai, Jerry Lalrinzuala.
Midfielders: Liston Colaco, Lalianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Deepak Tangri, Rohit Kumar, Suresh Singh, Komal Thatal, Rahul KP, Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi.
Forwards: Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Hitesh Sharma, Rahim Ali, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Rohit Danu, Jerry Mawihminthanga.
March 22: vs Tajikistan
March 24: vs Uzbekistan.
March 26: vs Pakistan.
(With AIFF/PTI inputs)