The Blue Tigers are set to play their next 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture in Kolkata and will be without a few key figures.

Indian football team have announced that versatile defender Rahul Bheke  have picked up an injury in training and is leaving out of the preparatory camp in Guwahati. The 28-year-old will not be taking part any further in the preparatory camp before their next 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier clash against Bangladesh in Kolkata on October 15.  Despite mentioning an injury, the specifics of the setback – the severity and duration are yet to be confirmed.

Rahul Bheke was chosen in the preliminary squad by Igor Stimac after his decent display against Qatar. He was immense for India on a night when they silenced the Asian champions and held them to a draw away.

Bheke’s absence could pose a few selection problems for the tactician, but it will also give the chance to players like Pritam Kotal or Nishu Kumar to stamp their authority on the international stage.

The 28-year-old defender joins players like Amarjit Singh Kiyam and Jeje Lalpekhlua, who are also nursing injuries that have forced them to sit on the sidelines. Bheke plays for Bengaluru FC and the fans of the reigning Indian Super League champions will be hoping that the defender makes a swift recovery, in time for the start of the new campaign which kick starts from October 20.

India’s next qualifying fixture is a must-win contest if they are to have any chance of progressing into the next qualifying round and finishing in the top two spots from their group.

Earlier defeat to Oman and the following stalemate played with Qatar means India must capitalize on the home fixture against the neighboring nation and get all three points.

Rahul Bheke’s exclusion is definitely a bump in the preparations, but it is interesting to see how the gaffer reacts to the situation and which player is handed the starting position.