Goa’s Adil Khan, Brandon Fernandes and Mandar Rao Desai have been retained in the India squad as coach Igor Stimac released the name of the twenty three players to be representing India for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier against Bangladesh scheduled at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata on October 15.
Sandesh Jhingan, who has held India’s defense along with Adil has been ruled out due to an injury he suffered when India was playing a friendly against Northeast United.
“Sandesh has suffered on his left knee ACL tear and needs to undergo surgery. It usually takes 6 months for return to the sport. He will be monitored constantly during the rehabilitation phase so that he comes back on the field sooner,” Indian Physio Gigy George informed the media.
“Sandesh is our Iron-man. He’ll be missed in Kolkata but knowing him, I’m pretty sure, he’ll come back much stronger,” Stimac was quoted in AIFF media.
The absence of Sandesh should give Anas Edathodika a nod in as central defender along with Adil. Mandar, who was not impressive in the game against Qatar – although he did not commit any howlers – may get another shot at defending.
Rahul Bheke has improved fast and Stimac applauded the medical team for it.
Adil, who has developed a strong partnership with Jhingan at the heart of the defense of late, feels Sandesh’s absence provides others with a chance to prove their worth in front of the Kolkata crowd.
“He (Sandesh) plays a huge role in our team and he’s the leader in our defense. Now, the onus is on us to live up to the expectations. We want to win it for him,” said Adil.
Barring Sandesh Jhingan and an injured Anwar Ali (Jr.), HalicharanNarzary, FarukhChoudhary and Nishu Kumar have been released from the camp.
The Bangladesh team had a practice session in Kolkata in the morning.
The 23-member squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Narender, Sarthak Golui, Anas Edathodika, Mandar Rao Desai, Subhasish Bose.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Abdul Sahal, Raynier Fernandes, Brandon Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh.