Sunil Chhetri is the only notable face in the 18-member Indian football squad for the Asian Games. -
Sunil Chhetri is the only notable face in the 18-member Indian football squad for the Asian Games.
Posted 14 Sep 2023 01:23 PM


Veteran striker Sunil Chhetri was the only notable face in India's 18-man squad for the Asian Games in Hangzhou as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) finally managed to put together a second-tier team, but the head coach remains a big question. mark Igor Stimac with the team.
Most of the clubs were reluctant to release the 22 players named in the Indian squad due to a clash in the Asian Games schedule with the ISL starting on September 21.
This can be seen as a huge loss of face for AIFF president and BJP leader Kalyan Chaubey, who actually held heated discussions with the ministry to send the team despite not meeting the government's criteria to compete in the quadrennial event.
After much deliberation, the AIFF was able to announce an insufficient squad that included 9 players out of the original 22 players, including Chhetri, while the rest consisted of inexperienced club players.

But there are doubts whether Stimac will travel to Hangzhou with such an underpowered team. He had earlier said that the Asian Games was a priority.
Initially, the AIFF announced through a press release that 17 players will be in the squad, but later Mohun Bagan's Deepak Tangri was added to the squad.
This may be a rare case of India fielding an underpowered football team in a major tournament. The only saving grace was the inclusion of current Indian football poster boy Chhetri, who recently became a father.

Two other senior footballers - FC Goa defender Sandesh Jhingan and Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - have not been released by their clubs. Azfar Noorani of Mumbai's Kenkre FC, who played in the I-League in the 2022-23 season but was relegated to the second division, was also named in the squad.
The national federation, which was able to reunite the squad just three days before leaving for China, thanked the Indian Super League clubs and the FSDL for "coordinating the release of the players".

Team India will begin their Asian Games campaign with a match against China on September 19, followed by matches against Bangladesh (September 21) and Myanmar (September 24).
The top two of the six groups will advance to the quarter-finals, and the top four will also advance to third place.
The soccer team did not meet the requirements to qualify for the Asian Games, but received permission from the Sports Ministry to select the best half Chhetri, Jhingan and the number one goalkeeper Gurpreet for the team. But the ISL clubs had other plans as they refused to release their players as it would mean missing three-four games. However, they are under no obligation to release the players as the Asian games were not part of FIFA's international window.
The hapless AIFF even hoped that the ISL clubs would release all 22 of the 50 players registered for the Asian Games so that the senior men's team could participate in the continental showpiece.
The underpowered team has only two goalkeepers instead of three in the usual 22-man squad, and that could be problematic if injuries crop up during the tournament.

Also, the team must select 10 outfield players from the 16 players, and possible additional injuries may lead to a limitation in the number of substitutes, and most players must be on the field for a long time. Bengaluru FC, who had six players in their original 22-man squad, refused to release Gurpreet but agreed to include Chhetri and Rohit Danu in the squad. In Gurpeet's absence, either Gurmeet Singh or Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem will be India's wicketkeeper.
FC Goa also refused to let Jhinga go, while East Bengal, who had two players in their earlier squad, had none in the final squad. Mohun Bagan has two players in Sumit Rath and Tangri while Gurkirat Singh is the only player for Mumbai City FC.

Many of the players in the final squad did not play too many matches for their ISL clubs and were not regular players in the first XI. Teamo India:

Gurmeet Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Sumit Rathi, Narender Gahlot, Deepak Tangri, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Samuel James, Rahul KP, Abdul Rabeeh Anjukandan, Ayush Dev Chhetri, Bryce Miranda, Azfar Noorani, Rohiil Ch. Danu, Gurkirat Singh, Aniket Jadhav.

Leave a comment: (Your email will not be published)