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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Which clubs have contributed most players to current Indian football team squad?

Published at :June 1, 2024 at 6:01 PM
Modified at :June 1, 2024 at 6:01 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF)

Bishal Deb

Igor Stimac has included players from the I-League in the Indian football team.

Igor Stimac’s recent announcement of the 27-member squad for the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers has generated immense excitement in the Indian football community, as the team prepare to face Kuwait and Qatar. This selection is particularly noteworthy for a few reasons.

Among the 27 players, 25 hail from Indian Super League (ISL) clubs. For the first time, Stimac has included players from the I-League in his squad, adding a new dimension to his squad composition.

Interestingly, there are no players from four of the 12 ISL clubs – NorthEast United, Punjab FC, Hyderabad FC and Jamshedpur FC – in the squad. From the I-League, one player each from Inter Kashi and Mohammedan SC has been selected.

These qualifiers are pivotal for India, especially the match against Kuwait on 6 June, which is a must-win if they aim to qualify for the third round of the qualifiers. The inclusion of I-League players signifies a broader search for talent, reflecting Stimac’s commitment to fielding the best possible team, regardless of league affiliation.

In the following feature, we will delve into the specific clubs that have contributed players to this national squad:

10. Inter Kashi (1 player)

Edmund Lalrindika from Inter Kashi is one of the two I-League players in the squad. Lalrindika had an incredible I-League 2023-24 season, where he played a crucial role in helping his club finish fourth in the league and also showcased his impressive playmaking. He will look to utilize this chance and make a name in the national team.

9. Kerala Blasters FC (1 player)

Jeakson Singh is the lone representative from his club. His ability to break up opposition play and protect the defence will be vital for the team’s balance. Jeakson’s presence will add solidity and resilience to India’s midfield against Kuwait and Qatar.

8. Mohammedan SC (1 player)

David Lalhansanga from Mohammedan SC is the other I-League player in the squad. He played a key role in helping Mohammedan gain promotion to the ISL. Lalhansanga’s impressive performances in the I-League have earned him a spot in Stimac’s squad.

7. Chennaiyin FC (1 player)

Chennaiyin FC have a solitary representative in the national team, with Rahim Ali making a comeback after a long absence.

As a striker, Rahim will act as a backup to the legendary Sunil Chhetri. His inclusion adds depth to India’s attacking options.

6. FC Goa (2 players)

FC Goa have two players in the national team, Brandon Fernandes and Jay Gupta. Brandon Fernandes’ creativity and passing ability in midfield make him a pivotal playmaker, capable of unlocking defences with his vision. Whereas, Jay Gupta will provide additional defensive depth to the national team.

5. Odisha FC (3 players)

Odisha FC’s impressive campaign in the ISL and AFC Cup has yielded three national team selections, with Amey Ranawade, Amrinder Singh and Narender Gehlot making the cut.

Amey Ranawade and Narender Gehlot will provide defensive solidity to the squad, offering reliable backup options for the team. Meanwhile, Amrinder Singh, a seasoned goalkeeper, will challenge Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for the starting spot, bringing a high level of competition to the goalkeeping position.

4. East Bengal (3 players)

East Bengal have three players representing the national team, with Lalchungnunga, Naorem Mahesh Singh and Nandhakumar Sekar included. Naorem Mahesh Singh, widely-regarded as one of India’s most skilled attacking players, will be looking to wreak havoc from the left wing or even as a striker, using his pace and skill to outmaneuver opponents.

Lalchungnunga, a consistent performer retains his spot in Stimac’s squad, while Nandhakumar Sekran makes a return to the national team after a long absence.

3. Bengaluru FC (4 players)

Bengaluru FC contribute four players to the national team, with Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Nikhil Poojary and Suresh Wangjam making the selection. Legendary striker Chhetri will lead India’s attack one last time and will be eager to leave a lasting impact.

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be looking to redeem himself after a costly mistake against Afghanistan and will be determined to protect India’s goal against Kuwait. Meanwhile, Poojary’s pace and skills on the wings as well as Suresh’s tenacity in midfield will be key assets for the team.

2. Mumbai City FC (4 players)

Mumbai City have four players in the national team, with Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mehtab Singh, Rahul Bheke and Vikram Pratap Singh in the mix. Chhangte is expected to play a crucial role on the wings, using his pace and skills to trouble opponents. Meanwhile, Bheke will provide stability in defence, stepping up in the absence of Sandesh Jhingan.

Young forward Vikram Pratap Singh has earned his spot after an impressive 2023-24 season, where he scored eight goals and provided four assists. The Mumbai City quartet will look to make a significant impact against Kuwait on 6 June. 

1. Mohun Bagan (7 players)

Mohun Bagan dominate the national team squad with an impressive seven players. Liston Colaco, Anirudh Thapa, Manvir Singh, Vishal Kaith, Subhasish Bose, Sahal Abdul Samad and Anwar Ali have all been chosen to represent India in the upcoming matches.

These talented individuals played a crucial role in Mohun Bagan’s successful 2023-24 campaign, helping the team win the League Winners’ Shield and secure a runners-up finish in the ISL. They are expected to make a significant impact in India’s match against Kuwait at the Salt Lake Stadium. 

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