Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac named a 23-member squad for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh to be played in Kolkata on Tuesday with some key players missing due to injury. Sandesh Jhingan and Anwar Ali (Jr) will miss the game due to injury, while Halicharan Narzary, Farukh Choudhary and Nishu Kumar did not make it to the final 23. Jhingan suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear on his left knee during Kerala Blasters' 1-1 draw against Guwahati-based North-East United in a friendly on Wednesday and will undergo a surgery that may rule him out for six months. Anas Edathodika is expected to fill the void left by the wall of India’s back four.
In an interview with a leading media portal, Stimac is very disappointed with Jhingan’s absence. The coach said that the team will miss him dearly in Kolkata. However, he seemed confident that the star defender will come back much stronger. Team Physio Gigy George confirmed that Jhingan has suffered an ACL tear on his left knee and will undergo surgery. He also said that his injury has ruled him out for 6 months and will be monitored constantly during the rehabilitation phase so that he comes back on the field sooner.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who captained the side in the drawn match against Asian champions Qatar in Doha, termed the ruling out of Jhingan as 'a big loss' for the 'Blue Tigers'. Adil Khan, who has developed a strong partnership with Jhingan at the heart of the defence, said that Jhingan plays a huge role in the team and he's the leader in the defence. Khan also feels that the absence of the Kerala Blasters defender will give other players in the side a chance to prove their worth in front of the Kolkata crowd.
The 23-member Indian Squad:
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