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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Indian football team’s route to Kuwait game in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Published at :May 12, 2024 at 5:46 PM
Modified at :May 12, 2024 at 5:46 PM
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Keshava Verma

The Indian football team will play against Kuwait on June 6.

With two disappointing fixtures against Afghanistan in the previous international window held in March, the Indian football team have taken a back hit in their quest for a maiden round 3 qualification in the FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Despite sitting second in the group table, India are presently in quite a delicate situation, and their World Cup dream hangs by a thread. 

India’s biggest roadblock in their road to qualification might come against Kuwait, who are currently sitting bottom, but have no games left to be played against Qatar. 

India and Kuwait both face off in their next qualifier game on the June 6, in a game that will pretty much define the final standings of the group. If India win the tie against Kuwait, they will pretty certainly secure their place in the next round, given that Qatar defeat Afghanistan, as the Blue Tigers have a seven goal advantage in goal difference over Afghanistan. 

However, if India lose against Kuwait, their World Cup dreams will be pretty much over, and even a draw won’t help their cause. 

All in all, India’s tie against Kuwait will be the defining game of whether or not India can create history, and make it to the third round of the World Cup qualifications. 

Preparatory camp ahead of the International window

The Indian football team have assembled in Bhubaneshwar, for a four-week preparatory camp ahead of their high-stake games against Kuwait on the June 6, and away to Qatar on June 11.

The decision was made in late April, and was announced by the media handle of AIFF. 

“India Sr men’s national team will have a 4-week preparatory camp in Bhubaneswar, Odisha starting 10 May, 2024,” the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had announced.

The camp serves as a positive news for all fans and the fraternity as a whole, as it will allow head coach Igor Stimac to work with his side, and get them in the perfect rhythm to play out such a high-stake game.

In their previous two fixtures against Afghanistan, the Blue Tigers looked pretty distorted, and lacked the fluidity and understanding needed to get positive results. Stimac had cited ‘lack of preparation time’ as the biggest reason behind this adverse rollout on the pitch. 

With around a month’s time in his hands, the Croatiam will surely have no complaints this time around, and the fans, stakeholders and the entire nation will demand a strong performance from him and his army. 

Player’s arriving the camp

Igor has called up a total of 41 players for his four week preparatory camp, that includes a host of new faces, who have received the incredible opportunity of making a positive impression in front of the head coach. 

While the first list of 26 players, which was announced by the head coach a few days ago, commenced their camp on May 10, the second list of 15 will join them by May 15.

The second list has players from Mumbai City FC and Mohun Bagan, who played in the Indian Super League final on May 4, and are taking a well deserved time off to recover and come back completely rejuvenated. 

The complete list of players is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Phurba Tempa Lachenpa and Vishal Kaith 

Defenders: Amey Ganesh Ranawade, Jay Gupta, Lalchungnunga, Muhammad Hammad, Narender, Nikhil Poojary, Roshan Singh Naorem, Akash Mishra, Anwar Ali, Mehtab Singh, Rahul Bheke and Subhasish Bose 

Midfielders: Brandon Fernandes, Edmund Lalrindika, Imran Khan, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Mohammad Yasir, Nandhakumar Sekar, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Vibin Mohanan, Anirudh Thapa, Deepak Tangri, Lalengmawia Ralte, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Liston Colaco and Sahal Abdul Samad 

Forwards: David Lalhlansanga, Jithin Madathil Subran, Lalrinzuala, Parthib Sundar Gogoi, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh and Vikram Partap Singh.

Absence of key players

Igor Stimac has faced a major blow, as almost eight out of the 41 players that he has selected, have been sidelined due to injury

Akash Mishra (Mumbai City), Deepak Tangri (Mohun Bagan), Roshan Singh (Bengaluru), Mohammad Yasir (FC Goa), Rahul KP, Vibin Mohanan (both Kerala Blasters), Isak Vanlalruratfela (Odisha) and Lalrinzuala Lalbiaknia (Aizawl FC) are all injured.

While some of the players are not first choices for Stimac, the absence of left-back Mishra (ACL) and midfielder Tangri will be particularly felt.

Another major concern for Stimac though will be the unavailability of Apuia, who has asked to be left out of national team duties so that he can focus on answering his post-graduation examinations. The midfielder was a star for Mumbai in the ISL final against Mohun Bagan and was adjudged player of the match. Moreover, his composure and ability to control the midifoed, is something that will be crucial against a team like Kuwait. 

Despite these absentees, India must focus on what they have, and must make the most out of this camp. 

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