India announces 26-member squad for AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

The Indian Men's Football Team Head Coach Igor Stimac announced the 26-member squad for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 on Saturday.

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Abishek Goswami
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India announces 26-member squad for AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

India will begin their AFC Asian Cup campaign on January 13 against Australia Image - AIFF

India will make their fifth appearance in the AFC Asian Cup. The Blue Tigers will play their opening Group B match against Australia on January 13, 2024 (17:00 IST), at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan before facing Uzbekistan on January 18 (20:00 IST) at the same venue. Stimac's men will then face Syria on January 23 (17:00 IST).

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India are all set to arrive in Doha on December 30 and prepare in a camp for the AFC Asian Cup. 

The Blue Tigers have competed in Qatar, playing four of their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers matches there, including two against the hosts. Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu were part of the Indian squad at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup which was also held in Qatar. Chhetri scored a goal each against Bahrain and South Korea.

"I'm looking forward to seeing our Indian fans in Doha. They came in massive numbers to support the Indian team during the qualifiers, and that was one of the reasons why we had two great performances against Qatar here. So, I'm well aware that there will be massive support for our boys. Hopefully, we can pay them back and celebrate some good results," said Stimac.

Stimac also opened up about the areas he wants his team to improve ahead of the clashes in the Asian Cup. He said, "The things we are looking to work on are defensive compactness, offensive transitions, and the set pieces, mostly. It will be very important to work on man-marking inside the box because I was not happy with that part of our game. In the last few games, we started leaking some unnecessary goals inside the box."

"All three of our opponents are very good technically, physically stronger with great speed. So, we are not going to have much difference in approach to all these three games, I can tell you that. We need to check the fitness level of our players at present and see how much we can develop in the next two weeks," he added.

India's Group B fixtures at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

January 13, 2024: Australia vs India (17:00 IST, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)

January 18, 2024: India vs Uzbekistan (20:00 IST, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)

January 23, 2024: Syria vs India (17:00 IST, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor)

India's 26-member squad for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhinghan, and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu are part of the 26-member squad. Central defender Anwar Ali missed out on the final squad due to an ankle injury. Despite fitness concerns, Sahal Abdul Samad makes his place into the squad for the AFC Asian Cup.

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith.

Defenders: 
Akash Mishra, Lalchungnunga, Mehtab Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose.

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Deepak Tangri, Lalengmawia Ralte, Liston Colaco, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Udanta Singh.

Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Sunil Chhetri, Vikram Partap Singh.

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Football Indian Football Indian Footballers Sunil Chhetri Sandesh Jhingan Igor Stimac Sahal Samad Lallianzuala Chhangte 2023 Afc Asian Cup Anirudh Thapa