The Indian football team will be without the services of charismatic Sunil Chhetri in the King's Cup tournament. Manvir Singh will lead the front line in his absence. Head Coach Igor Stimac on Tuesday announced the 23-member squad for the tournament to be held from September 7-10, 2023 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Chhetri, the regular captain of the team, is about to become a father. He has been given a break from the King's Cup to give time to the family at the time of the birth of the child. Chhetri, however, will be present in the Indian team for the Asian Games.
King's Cup, the four-nation tournament will be organized in the knockout format. Manvir will be joined by Rahim Ali and Rahul KP in the front row. While Brandon Fernandes and Suresh Singh Wangjam have returned to the national team, which looks pretty balanced even in Chhetri's absence.
Meanwhile, the team's defense will be led by the experienced Sandesh Jhingan and Subhasish Bose. While the midfield comprises of proven players like Anirudh Thapa, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad and Brandon Fernandes. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh will play the role of goalkeepers. India, ranked 99th in the world, will take on Iraq (ranked 70th) in the semi-finals on September 7.
On the other hand, host Thailand (ranked 113) will face Lebanon (ranked 100) in the other King's Cup semi-final. The winners of the semi-finals will play the final on September 10, while the losers will play-off for the third and fourth places on the same day. The Indian team last participated in this tournament in 2019. The team then won the bronze medal.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh.
Defenders: Asish Rai, Nikhil Poojary, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Mehtab Singh, Lalchungnunga, Akash Mishra, Subhasish Bose.
Midfielders: Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Brandon Fernandes, Sahal Abdul Samad, Anirudh Thapa, Rohit Kumar, Ashique Kuruniyan, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Rahul KP.
Head coach: Igor Stimac.