Jeje Lalpekhlua, Halicharan Narzary, and Ashique Kuruniyan are not included in the list due to injury problems.

Just a day after announcing Igor Stimac as the new head coach of the Indian national football team, the preliminary squad for the upcoming Kings Cup has also been announced. What is presumed to be the team which the Croatian pitched during his interview which impressed the AIFF technical committee, Stimac’s called up some new names, fans were craving to see in national colours.

In a high-profile squad of players who impressed in the recently concluded league campaign, the likes of Jobby Justin, Michael Soosairaj, Kamaljit Singh, Anwar Ali and Brandon Fernandes have all been given call-ups. Stimac had indicated that he would be selecting only the best players, regardless of which league they’re from. The Croatian’s given the I-League some recognition while going with multiple new-faces who have the chance to make the plane to Thailand.

However, a number of high-profile players couldn’t even make the squad due to injuries. Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua suffered an injury during Chennaiyin FC’s AFC Cup group stages and is likely to be operated on later this month. Wingers Halicharan Narzary and Ashique Kuruniyan are also both suffering from knee injuries, while Jerry Lalrinzuala also suffered an injury during the AFC Cup campaign.

That being said, industrial midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh makes his way back into the probable squad after a long layoff due to injury. He missed the AFC Asian Cup due to his injury setbacks, but his impressive form for the Marina Machans in the AFC Cup grants him an automatic spot in the preliminary spot. Moreover, Indian Arrows’ captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam also gets a surprise call-up due to his excellent work in the league season.

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Redeem Tlang, who scored in the semi-finals for NorthEast United, gets his debut call-up to the national team as well. Raynier Fernandes’ impressive work for Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League(ISL) has also not gone unnoticed, as the former Mohun Bagan man also finds a place in the squad.

Yet, the player everyone were almost begging to get selected in Rahul Bheke has finally received the national call-up. The ISL final hero for Bengaluru FC had impressed many with his stunning defensive work for the champions and managed to impress Stimac after missing out on Constantine’s squad a few months ago.

While Bengaluru FC has five players selected for the national team, I-League champions Chennai City FC surprisingly have nobody from their team in the preliminary squad. Despite giving rise to some extremely talented local talent, the likes of Gaurav Bora, Edwin Vanspaul and Ajithkumar Kamaraj all miss out on an opportunity to book a place for the Kings Cup.

The preparatory camp will take place from 20th May onwards from New Delhi. The players will get the chance to impress the Croatian and only the best will make the 23-man squad which will then travel for the Kings Cup in June.

India Probable Squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh

DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anwar Ali, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das.

MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Bikramjit Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Germanpreet Singh, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Redeem Tlang, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nandha Kumar, Komal Thatal, Michael Soosairaj.

FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jobby Justin, Sumeet Passi, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.