The Blue Tigers will be in action for the first time since October last year.
India are all set to play their first friendly of 2022 on March 23. The Blue Tigers will be back in action after a long time. Both India and Bahrain will look forward to this friendly as a preparation for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers which are to be held in June.
India Vs Bahrain: The Stakes
The Indian national team last played a match back in October, when they won the SAFF Championship. Since then, the players have been busy with their club duties. With the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers knocking on the door, Igor Stimac’s men will be looking forward to working on their strengths and weaknesses in the upcoming friendly.
Regarding Bahrain, they also will be keen on strengthening their squad and finding the right XI ahead of the Asian Qualifiers. They have already played two friendlies this year against Uganda and Congo DR and will be in good shape. Undoubtedly, they will start as the favourites in this encounter. Their target is expected to be to develop the best possible side for the upcoming AFC event in June.
India Vs Bahrain: Team News
India will miss a few players from Mumbai City FC, since they are currently in Abu Dhabi preparing for their upcoming AFC Champions League campaign in April. Meanwhile, the 25-man squad announced on Monday revealed the inclusion of seven new faces in the Indian team.
Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Anwar Ali (Jr), Hormipam Ruivah, Danish Farooq, Naorem Roshan Singh, VP Suhair and Aniket Jadhav are the names respectively. Sunil Chhetri, Sahal Abdul Samad and Suresh Singh Wangjam were ruled out of the friendlies due to injuries. Meanwhile, Udanta Singh is also one of the absentees on the list.
Additionally, seven players from the 25-member squad will also miss the first friendly against Bahrain on Wednesday (March 23) as they are yet to travel to the country and join the team due to visa issues. Amrinder Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Akash Mishra, Aniket Jadhav and Bipin Singh are the seven players currently in India. Coach Stimac informed that these players are yet to take the flight to Bahrain for the friendlies.
Bahrain on the other hand, had a fully fit team available against Congo DR on Feb 1 and will be looking to proceed with their strongest possible XI.
India Vs Bahrain: Head-to-Head
India have played eight times against Bahrain prior to this fixture. Bahrain have emerged victorious on six of those occasions. The recent encounter took place at the AFC Asian Cup on January 14, 2019, where Bahrain won 1-0 – thanks to a late penalty. The Blue Tigers have managed just a win and draw each in of those eight matches.
India Vs Bahrain: Probable Line-ups
India: Gurpreet Singh Sadhu (GK); Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Naorem Roshan Singh; Jeakson Singh, Danish Farooq; VP Suhair, Yasir Mohammad, Liston Colaco; Manvir Singh.
Bahrain: Sayed Mohammed Jaffer (GK), Abbas Ayyad, Hamad Al-Shamsan, Abdulla Al Hazaa, Hasan Ali, Ali Madan, Abdulla Al Hashsash, Jasim Al Shaikh, Komail Hasan Al-Aswad, Ismaeel Abdullatif, Sayed Hashim.
India Vs Bahrain: Players to Watch
Liston Colaco (India)
With eight goals and five assists in the recently concluded ISL season, Liston Colaco is India’s next Gen face of football. He dazzled all with his goalscoring and dribble abilities and direct runs during the ISL. Colaco would want to carry that form into the friendlies with the national team and cement his place under Stimac for the upcoming Asian Cup qualifiers. In a star-studded ATK Mohun Bagan side, the 23-year-old came out as their biggest star from this season.
Sayed Hashim (Bahrain)
The 23-year-old who made his debut at the age of 17 in 2016 has netted four goals for Bahrain in nine appearances. Sayed Hashim scored the solitary goal to fetch Bahrain a victory in their recent friendly against Congo DR. The forward will be expected to be under the scanner of the defensive third of India.
Did You Know?
- India have never defeated Bahrain in a competitive match.
- India are undefeated in their last five encounters. Meanwhile, Bahrain have lost once in the last five matches, to New Zealand.
- This will be the first time India will be in action since October last year.
The match will be played at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama, Bahrain. The match will kickoff at 9:30 pm IST. The AIFF confirmed that there will be no live telecast or streaming for the match in India.
“Despite our best efforts in working with the Bahrain FA to live telecast and stream the International Friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus, owing to lack of support & subsequent technical feasibility, it won’t be possible to telecast the matches in India,” said the All India Football Federation.
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