New Delhi, October 20: The India U-23 football team departed for Dubai on Wednesday (October 20) to compete in the forthcoming Qualifiers for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
The 23-member squad, plus the support staff flew from Bengaluru, where the U-23 boys had practised in the last couple of days.
India, who have been clubbed in Group E along with Oman, UAE and the Kyrgyz Republic, begin their campaign against Oman in their first match on October 24.
"Every country has talented youngsters, and U-23 players who are already playing at the senior level for their respective countries, and so do we. But we need to find the balance in this team," head coach Igor Stimac said.
"The good thing for us is that we already had a number of players from this bunch of players here who have been a part of the National Team, and are aware of what kind of weather is to be expected, and also the expectations from the fans.
"Our aim is always the same - to go out and win every game. But it will depend on the approach we take depending on information about the strength of our opposition."
From the current contingent, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Rahim Ali, and Dheeraj Singh were part of the triumphant SAFF Championship squad, while Akash Mishra, Amrajit Singh and Narender Gahlot have been part of the Blue Tigers under Stimac in the past.
"I'm quite attached to these guys. They are the players who are giving us extra energy on the bench. They are younger and it's much easier to work with them. You need to understand as they are young, we can mould them as they learn fast," the coach expressed.
The India squad will be having its first practice session on Thursday (October 21).
India's fixtures in the qualifying leg are as follows:
October 24: Oman vs India
October 27: India vs UAE
October 30: India vs Kyrgyz Republic
The 23-member squad for the U23 Qualifiers is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Mohammad Nawaz.
DEFENDERS: Narender Gahlot, Alex Saji, Hormipam Ruivah, Asish Rai, Sumit Rathi, Akash Mishra.
MIDFIELDERS: Suresh Singh, Amarjit Singh, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Deepak Tangri, Rahul KP, Komal Thatal, Nikhil Raj, Bryce Miranda, Princeton Rebello.
FORWARDS: Vikram Partap Singh, Rahim Ali, Rohit Danu, Aniket Jadhav.