New Delhi, February 27: Coach Igor Stimac announced an 18-day national team camp to "utilise the maximum time possible" before the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier against Qatar, which is scheduled to be played in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on March 26.
"Time is very crucial for us. We have planned to utilise the maximum time possible, so we want to see as many players as possible before the Qatar match. As some players won't be able to join the camp because of their club commitments before the 16th, we'll use this time to assess other players," head coach Igor Stimac said.
23 members have been called up in the first phase of the training camp in Bhubaneswar on March 9 before 20 other players, from four Hero Indian Super League semi-finalist teams join on March 16.
Meanwhile, Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua, who were undergoing a prolonged rehabilitation session following their injury layoffs, have been named in the first batch of players.
"Sandesh (Jhingan) and Jeje (Lalpekhlua) have been long standing servers of Indian National Team and I strongly believe in their abilities. I have been updated about their current medical status and we'll monitor them closely in Bhubaneswar too," Stimac added, "Amarjit is also someone who can be very influential on the pitch. We want to see him as well along with others."
Incidentally, Jeakson Singh, who etched his name in Indian Football history following his thunderous header against Colombia in the FIFA U17 World Cup at the JLN Stadium in New Delhi on October 10, 2017 as the first Indian footballer to have scored in a FIFA World Cup match, has also earned his maiden call-up for the Senior National Team camp.
"It's a dream-come-true for me to get a call-up from Senior Team camp. Scoring the goal against Colombia is something that I shall always cherish but now I want to prove myself here. Sharing the dressing room with ones who I've always looked up to, is going to be a remarkable experience for me," an exultant Jeakson Singh pronounced.
Here's a list of the 23 players who have been called up on March 9:
GOALKEEPERS: Amrinder Singh, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Md. Rafique Ali Sardar.
DEFENDERS: Pratik Prabhakar Chowdhary, Shubham Sarangi, Subhasish Bose, Narender, Adil Khan, Sandesh Jhingan.
MIDFIELDERS: Rowllin Borges, Amarjit Singh, Jeakson Singh, Nandhakumar Sekar, Lalengmawia, Vinit Rai, Raynier Fernandes, Nikhil Poojary, Mawihmingthanga, Halicharan Narzary, Sahal Abdul Samad.
FORWARDS: Farukh Choudhary, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Liston Colaco.
20 players, who will join the National Team camp, following the Hero Indian Super League final, on March 16:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith, Prabhsukhan Gill.
DEFENDERS: Prabir Das, Rahul Bheke, Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Sumit Rathi, Seriton Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai.
MIDFIELDERS: Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jackichand Singh.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Soosai Raj Micheal.
The match is scheduled to kick-off at 07:30 PM IST.