Panaji: Mandar Rao Desai has been named in the list of 35 probables for the preparatory camp for the Intercontinental Cup to be held in Gujarat next month. The other first-timers in the camp under coach Stimac include defenders Sarthak Golui and Narender Gehlot, and midfielders Ashique Kuruniyan and Nikhil Poojary.
Rowllin Borges who was called for the King’s Cup preparatory camp and released in the second round has also got a recall. Adil Khan and Brandon Fernandes, who were part of the India team, are also in the list of 35 announced by Stimac and released by All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Central defender Anas Edathodika, who had announced his retirement from international football after the AFC Asian Cup in UAE in 2019, finds himself in Stimac’s list for the preparatory camp at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai from June 25.
“Coach Stimac has shown his faith in me, and it’s my turn to repay him,” Anas said. “Coach asked me to join the upcoming camp. Honestly, I was taken aback. Later Venky bhai (assistant coach Venkatesh Shanmugam) shared all details, and I just can’t wait to join the camp,” he stated.
“Anas had played a significant role under Mr Constantine, and I welcome his decision to accept my call, and make himself available for the National Team after we spoke,” the coach expressed.
“All our players should consider themselves candidates for the national team shirt as far as they work hard, and keep playing well for their respective clubs,” Stimac
Defending champions India begin their campaign on the opening day of the Intercontinental Cup against Tajikistan on July 7, with DPR Korea, and Syria being the other two teams in the four-nation competition. Every team will be playing each other once, with the top two advancing to the final.
The list of 35 probables:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Anwar Ali (Jr), Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Narender Gahlot.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojary, Michael Soosairaj.
FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jobby Justin, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.
According to the latest FIFA rankings released in April, Syria are ranked 83rd followed by Tajikistan and North Korea, who are placed 120 and 121 respectively. India currently occupied 101st position in the rankings.
The Blue Tigers are the defending champions as they lifted the title last year with a victory against Kenya in the final. The other two teams that competed last year were New Zealand and Chinese Taipei.
(With inputs from agencies)