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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Top five players to watch out for in India vs Kuwait game

Published at :May 27, 2024 at 4:59 PM
Modified at :May 27, 2024 at 4:59 PM
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Bishal Deb

It is a must-win game for India to stay in the qualification race for the third round.

In the heart of Kolkata, the Salt Lake Stadium braces for a defining moment in Indian football on 6 June 2024. The upcoming match against Kuwait isn’t just a game, it’s the possibility of a historic achievement that looms large, as India strive to make a maiden entry into the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

For the Indian team, it’s a do-or-die situation. A victory is imperative to keep their hopes alive for advancing to the third round for the first time, a milestone that has eluded them thus far. Their journey began on a promising note with a narrow yet significant 1-0 victory over Kuwait on their turf.

However, the tides turned when they faced a formidable Qatar, succumbing to the pressure at home. The subsequent qualifiers in March were nothing short of a nightmare, as India grappled with a shocking draw and a 1-2 defeat against an underdog Afghan side. These are the memories India must shed as they step onto the field once more.

On the flip side, Kuwait’s journey in the qualifiers has been a rollercoaster of emotions. After a rocky start with a defeat to India, they bounced back with a commanding 4-0 victory over Afghanistan. Their encounters with Qatar, though ending in losses, displayed Kuwait’s tenacity, particularly in the close-fought home match.

As they approach the clash against India, a draw would be enough to keep their hopes alive, considering their final match is against the less formidable Afghanistan.

As the stage is set for this pivotal showdown, we turn our attention to the five key players from both sides who have the potential to change the India vs Kuwait game’s dynamics and propel their teams into the next round.

5. Khalid El Ebrahim (Kuwait)

Khalid El Ebrahim stands as a key defender for Kuwait, renowned for his composure and strength on the field. As the son of Kuwaiti football legend Mohammed Ebrahim Hajeyal, he carries a rich football heritage and has made a name for himself through his performances. His crucial role in Al Qadsia SC’s recent Emir Cup victory and his consistent performances in the Kuwaiti Premier League highlight his reliability.

The 31-year-old’s defensive prowess was particularly evident in the SAFF Championship last year, where he helped Kuwait reach the final and just conceded three goals throughout the campaign. His ability to read the game has been pivotal to his club’s and national team’s defensive strategies. Against India, El Ebrahim’s role will be critical in managing India’s attack, especially in dealing with the experienced Sunil Chhetri

4. Anwar Ali (India)

In the absence of Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali’s role in anchoring the Blue Tigers’s defense becomes paramount. Known for his ball-playing ability, Anwar is hailed as one of India’s finest centre-back in recent times. His keen game sense, effective distribution skills, and ability to initiate attacks from the back have been instrumental in both club and international matches.

As Kuwait’s formidable trio of Shabib Al Khaldi, Yousef Nasser and Mohammad Daham prepare to challenge India’s defense, Anwar’s task is to ensure stability and prevent any breaches.

With India’s progression hanging in the balance, where a draw or loss would be detrimental to their third-round aspirations, Anwar’s performance will be critical in steering India towards a historic qualification. His ability to remain calm under pressure and make crucial interventions will be key to India’s success in this must-win encounter.

3. Lallianzuala Chhangte (India)

With blistering pace and sharp football intellect, Lallianzuala Chhangte is poised to be a game-changer for India. His prowess on the wings is a key asset in dismantling the Kuwaiti defense. Fresh from an outstanding ISL season where he was the highest Indian goalscorer, Chhangte’s track record against Kuwait speaks volumes.

It was his crucial assist in the first FIFA World Cup Qualifier that led to Manvir Singh’s goal, securing a vital win for India. Moreover, his performance in the last SAFF Championship, particularly against Kuwait, was nothing short of impressive.

Chhangte’s ability to create scoring opportunities out of seemingly impossible situations makes him a constant threat. His recent form has seen him not only assist but also score crucial goals, showcasing his versatility and vision on the field. As India faces a must-win situation, Chhangte’s role is anticipated to be decisive in helping India get past Kuwait. 

2. Mohammed Daham (Kuwait)

As a talented and fearless forward, Mohammed Daham has earned a reputation as a game-changer for Kuwait, especially when it comes to delivering under pressure. Operating predominantly from the left flank, Daham has proven to be a crucial asset for Kuwait, netting two vital goals in four games of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier matches. His recent strike against Qatar not only showcased his lethal finishing skills but also underscored his ability to challenge even the toughest opponents.

In the domestic circuit, Daham has been a standout performer, emerging as one of the top goal-scorers in the Kuwaiti Premier League this season. As Kuwait prepares to face India, Daham’s role assumes even greater significance.

His flair for finding the back of the net and his knack for controlling the tempo of the game make him a potential game-changer. If Kuwait are to secure a favorable result against India, Daham’s performance will undoubtedly be key to their success.

1. Sunil Chhetri (India)

As the curtain draws to a close on an illustrious career, Sunil Chhetri prepares to lace up his boots one final time. With a career spanning nearly two decades, Chhetri has amassed 94 international goals, making him the fourth-highest international goal scorer in history.

His influence on Indian football is unparalleled, leading the national team to multiple victories and earning accolades both domestically and internationally.

In this emotionally charged match, Chhetri’s role in finding the net becomes more crucial than ever. His performances over the years highlight his enduring class and lethal finishing ability. With 150 international caps, his experience and leadership will be pivotal.

The roar of the home crowd at Salt Lake Stadium will fuel his determination as he seeks to leave a lasting legacy by steering India to a historic win over Kuwait.

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