The Indian National Football team is set to face Macau away on 5th September.
National Coach Stephen Constantine feels that the forthcoming AIFF International Tri-nation Football series presented by Hero will serve as an ideal platform for his team to prepare for India’s forthcoming crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifying match against Macau on September 5.
“The two matches would immensely benefit our quest to maintain an all-win record in the Asian Cup Qualifiers,” he said. India stay on top of Group A at the moment, courtesy back to back “hard-earned” victories over Myanmar and the Kyrgyz Republic.
“Qualification to the 2019 Asian Cup stays the priority. It will be nice to work with the boys again. They will be coming after a long break and we need to work hard for them to attain the fitness levels which are required for an International match,” Constantine said. “The boys need to play matches to understand each other better.”
India are currently ranked 97 in the FIFA ladder. The National Team, courtesy 13 victories in the last 15 matches (including the unofficial match against Bhutan) have moved up 76 places since March 2015.
India were ranked 171 when Constantine took over as the National Coach for the second time in February 2015 and slipped further to 173 in March 2015 in the FIFA ladder even before Constantine could have his first game in charge against Nepal, which India won 2-0 on aggregate.
The list of probables’ stays as follows:
MIDFIELDERS: Dhanapal Ganesh, Jackichand Singh, Seityasen Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Bikash Jairu, Milan Singh, Udanta Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Md. Rafique, Rowllin Borges, Halicharan Narzary, Germanpreet Singh, Anirudh Thapa
The National team looks set to repeat its 4-1-3-2 formation going into the AFC Cup qualifier against Macau. The return of Udanta Singh is set to give Stephen Constantine some breath of raw speed on the right wing and Sunil Chhetri’s return to prime fitness also holds well for the Blue Tigers.
Pronay Halder’s delayed return will see Rowlin Borges being the No. 1 screener sitting over the defensive side. After a few brilliant outings in AFC U-23 Championships in Qatar, Anirudh Thapa and Germanpreet Singh will expect to get a few minutes with the National team. Jeje Lalpekhlua and comeback man Balwant Singh will be expected to lead the line, but it depends on the training and physical fitness of the Punjab lad.
The defence is set to remain the same with Anas and Jhingan manning the central line and Kotal and Narayan Das providing covers at the wings. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will easily walk second in the lineup. Amrinder Singh, Indian football’s costliest goalkeeper in the Indian Super League, has been left out. CK Vineeth is also one of the big names to be left out.