The Blue Colts will begin their campaign on Monday, October 25.
The India U-23 National Team is all set to embark upon their qualification campaign for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022, after being drawn in Group E of the Qualifiers.
India have been drawn alongside Oman, Kyrgyz Republic, and hosts UAE in Group E of the Qualifiers, with the matches set to be played between October 25 to 31 at the Fujairah Stadium, in Fujairah, UAE.
The Blue Colts assembled in Bengaluru on October 17, and they will travel to the UAE on October 20 for their matches.
The 23-men India squad for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem (FC Goa), Prabhsukhan Singh Gill (Kerala Blasters FC), Mohammad Nawaz (Mumbai City FC).
Defenders: Narender Gahlot (Jamshedpur FC), Alex Saji (Gokulam Kerala FC), Hormipam Ruivah (Kerala Blasters FC), Asish Rai (Hyderabad FC), Sumit Rathi (ATK Mohun Bagan FC), Akash Mishra (Hyderabad FC).
Midfielders: Suresh Singh Wangjam (Bengaluru FC), Amarjit Singh Kiyam (SC East Bengal on loan from FC Goa), Lalengmawia Ralte (Mumbai City FC), Jeakson Singh (Kerala Blasters FC), Deepak Tangri (ATK Mohun Bagan FC), Rahul KP (Kerala Blasters FC), Komal Thatal (Jamshedpur FC), Nikhil Raj (Odisha FC on loan from Kickstart FC), Bryce Miranda (Churchill Brothers FC), Princeton Rebello (FC Goa).
Forwards: Vikram Partap Singh (Mumbai City FC), Rahim Ali (Chennaiyin FC), Rohit Danu (Hyderabad FC), Aniket Jadhav (Hyderabad FC).
Earlier, India had announced a 28-member list of probables for the competition. From among them, five names – Prateek Kumar Singh (NEROCA FC), Bikash Yumnam (RoundGlass Punjab FC), Halen Nongtdu (Indian Arrows), Sahil Panwar (Odisha FC) and Sk Sahil (ATK Mohun Bagan FC) – did not make the final cut. Odisha FC have confirmed that Panwar was ruled out due to an injury that he suffered recently in a pre-season friendly.
Head coach, Igor Stimac said:
“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 stated.
“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,” he added. “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 U23 squad will be having their first practice session tomorrow (October 21).
India’s Fixtures at AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers:
Monday, October 25: Oman vs India
Thursday, October 28: India vs UAE
Sunday, October 31: India vs Kyrgyz Republic