Asian Games 2023: Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan, Gurpreet Singh Named in Indian Squad – Apna TPO

Indian national football team skipper Sunil Chhetri, experienced stopper back Sandesh Jhingan and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu were named in the 22-member Indian men’s football squad for the upcoming Asian Games on Tuesday.

The head coach of the national side Igor Stimac will be in charge of the Blur Tigers headed to Hangzhou in China, where the Asiad is scheduled to take place.

The All Indian Football Federation was set on sending the national team to the continental event in China despite initial resistance from the sports ministry due to the national team not meeting the internal qualification criteria.

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The Indian teams, both men and women, ranked outside the top 8 in the continent and thus the participation of the Blue Tigers at the event in China was in jeopardy as the sports ministry requires its teams to be within the top eight in the confederation to be issued the green light for the tournament.

Stimac implored the Prime Minister of India to permit the team to contest in the prestigious continental event, citing the brilliant performances of the team in the recent past.

Stimac led the team to back-to-back successes this year as he managed to claim the Intercontinental Cup title and followed it up with a resounding victory in the SAFF Championship.

The ministry later cleared both the men’s and the women’s units and permitted the teams to travel to China for the competition following the appeals by the AIFF.

The Asian Games football competition is an Under-23 affair but due to the one-year delay in hosting this edition of the event, the organisers have allowed those who are 24 years old to participate, with the cut-off date of birth being fixed at January 1, 1999.

The national football team would be returning to the Asian Games after missing the 2018 edition in Jakarta.

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The squad:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Gurmeet Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.

Defenders: Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Narender Gahlot, Lalchungnunga, Akash Mishra, Roshan Singh, Ashish Rai.

Midfielders: Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Apuia Ralte, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Rahul KP, Naorem Mahesh Singh.

Forwards: Siva Sakthi Narayanan, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Aniket Jadhav, Vikram Partap Singh, Rohit Danu.

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