Both players impressed for their respective clubs in ISL 2021-22.

FC Goa centre-back Anwar Ali and Bengaluru FC’s Danish Farooq will join the Indian football team as potential replacements for Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan after the pair pulled out from the national camp in Pune. The 38-member provisional squad named by head coach Igor Stimac will assemble for a 10-day camp before travelling for the international friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus on March 23 and 26 respectively.

Ali and Farooq will be among the players who will join the national camp on March 10, while players still involved in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season will join later.

Anwar Ali in ISL 2021-22

Ali, 21, wasn’t initially part of the 38-man probable squad, but will now join the national camp after receiving the call-up as a replacement. He played 10 matches for FC Goa in ISL 2021-22, having made his debut in January against Chennaiyin FC. Ali had been training with Goa since the start of this season, but his signing was only formally completed in January.

In 10 matches, he clocked 900 minutes and provided one assist. Ali also made 24 blocks and 14 interceptions, while also attempting 20 tackles. While he excelled at the back, Goa’s season didn’t turn out that well. Derrick Pereira’s side ended their ISL campaign with a thrilling 4-4 draw against Kerala Blasters. FC Goa finished in ninth, with just four wins in 20 matches. They also failed to win each of their last four matches of the season.

Danish Farooq in ISL 2021-22

Danish, meanwhile, was among the best performers in the BFC camp. He finished the campaign as the fourth-highest goalscorer and assist provider for Bengaluru FC this season. With three goals and two asissts in 17 appearances, Danish Farooq sealed his place in the starting XI.

He was as good going ahead as he was in assisting the defence. The 25-year-old attempted 66 tackles and averaged almost 20 passes per game. He also made 16 blocks and eight interceptions in 1080 minutes of action.

Both players will hope to impress coach Stimac at the national camp and get picked in the final squad for the two upcoming international friendlies.

Sunil Chhetri, Ashique Kuruniyan Opt out

Captain Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan opted out of the national camp and the friendlies. In a press release on Monday, the AIFF confirmed that the 37-year-old Chhetri has taken time out to recover from “small injuries.”

“I was really looking forward to the two friendlies against Baharain and Belarus. It’s a shame I’ll be missing out. It’s been a long, tough season and I’ve suffered a few small injuries that need time to heal. I will be doing all I can to recover in time for the predatory camp in May,” the Blue Tigers’ skipper said.

Meanwhile, Anwar Ali and Danish will add to the eight debutants called up to the national camp. Prabhshukhan Gill, Mohammad Nawaz, Deepak Tangri, Roshan Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, VP Suhair, Aniket Jadav and Jerry Mawihmingthanga are the other players.

Provisional Squad

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh, Prabhshukhan Gill, Mohammad Nawaz.

DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Ashutosh Mehta, Seriton Fernandes, Ashish Rai, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Deepak Tangri, Narender Gahlot, Chinglensana Singh, Subhashish Bose, Akash Mishra, Mandar Rao Dessai, Roshan Singh, Anwar Ali (replacement).

MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Brandon Fernandes, VP Suhair, Lalengmawia, Sahal Abdul Samad, Yasir Mohammad, Ashique Kuruniyan (ruled out), Aniket Jadav, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Danish Farooq (replacement)

FORWARDS: Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco, Sunil Chhetri (ruled out), Rahim Ali.

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