All these players have starred for their respective sides in the ISL.

The Indian football team will play two international friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus. The Blue Tigers go up against them in the upcoming international window in the final week of March. Head coach Igor Stimac named a 38-man provisional squad to be part of the preparatory camp. The final squad will be picked after a few training sessions.

The squad is filled with India’s best talents, with the majority being from the top Indian Super League (ISL) sides. However, a few players have been handed their debut national team call-ups by Stimac, after their impressive work in the domestic season. So, let’s look at the top five new faces who have earned a maiden call-up to the Indian football team national camp ahead of the friendlies.

5. Prabhsukhan Gill

Prabhsukhan Gill
Gill leads the race for the Golden Glove this ISL season (Courtesy: ISL Media)

After enjoying an excellent breakthrough campaign with Kerala Blasters in the ISL, young goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill has received a well-deserved call-up to the Indian football national team. He’s currently leading the Golden Glove race in the ISL, having kept six clean sheets in 17 appearances for the Blasters. Gill has only conceded 19 goals in those games, averaging more than two saves per game.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper has utilized his strong build to make clutch saves. In doing so, he has ensured the Blasters have the best defensive record in the league. Stimac has taken note of his heroics and duly placed him in the provisional squad. Though it might still take him some time to unseat Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as India’s No. 1, he has made commendable progress.

4. Aniket Jadhav

Aniket Jadhav has been a breath of fresh air in Hyderabad FC’s attack, energizing the Nawabs’ frontline with his versatility. A maiden call-up to the Indian football team has been his reward for his impressive work in the ISL. The young winger has impressed Stimac as he can add a different dimension to his squad’s attack.

Jadhav has contributed five goals for HFC this season (two goals and three assists). His surprising burst of pace down the left-wing, dribbling ability, and incisiveness have harrowed opponents time and again. Jadhav’s current form and ability to play in multiple roles (left-wing or centre-forward) make him a solid squad option for Stimac.

3. VP Suhair

VP Suhair
Suhair starred on the flanks for NorthEast United in ISL 2021-22 (courtesy: ISL Media)

VP Suhair has seen years of hard work and grinding finally pay off with a valuable call-up to the national team. At the age of 29, he’s among the oldest players to get a debut call-up to the Indian football team. It has taken time, but he deserves a place in the squad. The NorthEast United forward has been one of the few bright spots of the side in the ISL this season, leading their line valiantly.

He has scored four goals in 19 appearances and is among the top-scoring Indian players in the ISL. He has also registered two assists. Not just that, but Suhair has proven his industrious nature by averaging more than four tackles a game. He is yet to impress Stimac in training, but Suhair’s seen years of hard work redeemed with this call-up.

2. Naorem Roshan Singh

Naorem Roshan Singh is in line to win the ISL Emerging Player of the Year award after enjoying a brilliant season with Bengaluru FC. The 23-year-old was a menacing presence down the left side for BFC. He was a huge threat with his excellent set-piece delivery. In 17 appearances, Roshan has seven assists and one goal – assisting more goals than any other Indian player in the league.

He’s been a huge creative threat for BFC. Not just that, but the youngster also proved his defensive qualities – averaging more than four tackles, two clearances, and as many blocks every game. Singh is probably among the few debutant call-ups to have a high chance of starting in the upcoming international friendlies.

1. Jerry Mawihmingthanga

Odisha Mumbai City
Jerry Mawihmingthanga has by far been the best player for Odisha FC in the last two seasons (Courtesy: ISL Media)

After years of impressing as an electric, adventurous winger for Odisha FC in the ISL, Jerry Mawihmingthanga has finally received his maiden call-up to the Indian national football team. He has had to work hard for it and impressed with his performances for the inconsistent Odisha FC side this season. Jerry has scored three goals and provided two assists in 18 appearances, being a clinical figure in the final third.

He has tormented defenders with his fiery movement and created quite a few chances with his impressive delivery. The 24-year-old has had to maintain a pretty high ceiling in terms of performances to get his first national team call-up. However, he’ll need to do even better to win over Igor Stimac in training and be involved in the upcoming games.

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