FC Goa technical director Derrick Perreira has taken over the junior side after the departure of Stephen Constantine.

The AFC Asian U-23 Championship probables’ squad list has already been announced earlier, with some surprising inclusions and talented individuals having to be left out. With the India U-23 team set to participate in a set of qualifiers in March, the All India Football Federation called up the best young talent in the country to assure qualification.

FC Goa technical director Derrick Perreira has taken over the U-23 side after the departure of Stephen Constantine, following the AFC Asian Cup elimination. However, the selectors ignored some blooming talents who’ve done really well for their clubs this season, but were overlooked in the probable list. These players definitely deserve to be in the squad and knowing their talent, could have made a big impact for the Blue Tigers.

So, here are five players to have missed out from the U-23 Championship qualifiers probables list:

5. Naorem Mahesh Singh (Shillong Lajong)

One of Shillong Lajong’s breakthrough stars in this campaign, Naorem Mahesh Singh’s often lit up their game to prove himself as a bright winger. He’s been a really positive addition to Alison Kharsyntiew’s side, troubling opponents with his movement and trickery in the final third. A pacy winger, Mahesh’s impressive close-control and work with his dangerous left foot has floored opponents.

In only eight appearances, he has scored four goals, including one being touted as the Goal of the Season. The talented right winger can cut in from his wing and cause big problems with his clinical instincts and could’ve been an exciting addition to the U-23 side as well.

4. Nongdamba Naorem (Kerala Blasters)

The tricky left winger is almost like a magician on the ball, as proved with some solid performances for Indian Arrows last season. Naorem caught everyone’s attention by scoring arguably the goal of last season when he sensationally dribbled past many Shillong Lajong players to score a goal, Lionel Messi would be proud of.

Naorem is yet to break through with Kerala Blasters, who signed him from Minerva Punjab for a hefty fee. However, his dribbling ability and knack of pulling off some majestic moments every now and then is well known. He could’ve brought an unpredictable element to the U-23 team and deserved a chance to prove himself in national colours once again.

3. Phrangki Buam (Shillong Lajong)

The Lajong lad could have provided that extra flair to India’s game with his ability

Phrangki Buam’s been a standout for an underperforming Shillong Lajong side this season, often offering a beacon of hope in attack with his ability. The midfielder’s displayed commendable technical skills and been solid going forward whenever he’s played. Buam’s scored four goals for Lajong this season, including netting against NEROCA FC and defending champions Minerva Punjab.

The 18-year-old is a skillfull player who works hard for the team and has proven to be a clinical figure in the final third. He could’ve lit up India U-23’s attack and provided that extra flair to their game with his ability.


2. Shubham Sarangi (Delhi Dynamos)

Shubham Sarangi has shown signs of growth under Josep Gombau’s system at Delhi Dynamos. Sarangi’s proven to be a hard-working, wily midfielder who has injected the Lions with a lot of energy whenever he’s on the pitch.

In seven appearances, he made quite the impression for pressing high and biting on the heels of his opponents. He’s also averaged more than two tackles and one block per game. Sarangi could’ve helped solidify India U-23’s midfield and kept things tidy in the middle.

1. Vikram Pratap Singh (Indian Arrows)

The youngster is a natural born leader in attack

The star of India’s AFC U-16 Championship campaign last year, Vikram Pratap Singh has adapted to the I-League surprisingly well this season. He’s made his mark for Indian Arrows, starting many games for them and working really well under Floyd Pinto’s system. He’s even scored a goal for the Arrows, while also creating many chances for them.

Despite his tender age, the 17-year-old’s a natural born leader in attack and has always encouraged his side forward even in difficult scenarios. He should’ve been included in the U-23 probables list, as Vikram Pratap deserves more exposure to blossom into the top striker he’s destined to become.