On Tuesday, the All India Football Federation released the roster for the 2023 Asian Games men’s squad. The event will take place in Hangzhou, China. It will start on September 23 and culminate on October 8.
The eminent trio at the forefront of this assembly consists of the striker Sunil Chhetri, the goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and the defender Sandesh Jhingan. These players will lead the squad in Hangzhou.
The men’s soccer panorama in the Asian Games has changed since 2002. It evolved into a domain only for players under 23. The regulations allow each team to include three members above this age.
Group A has beckoned India alongside contenders such as the hosts China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
The FIFA rankings place India at the 99th spot. The country is the second highest-ranked team in the group, overshadowed by China at the 80th position. Meanwhile, Myanmar occupies the 160th rank, followed by Bangladesh at 189th.
The men’s team triumphed in New Delhi 1951 and Jakarta 1962 Asian Games, along with a notable bronze in Bangkok 1970. The impending Hangzhou Games will mark India’s 16th appearance on the Asian Games stage.
The tale of India’s participation in the Hangzhou Games narrates a special circumstance. In an extraordinary move, the sports ministry has eased the stringent criteria usually applied. The national team’s decent performance prompted the decision. India clinched consecutive titles at the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Cup.
The top eight teams in Asia compete in continental tournaments, including the Asian Games. One notes that the Indian soccer teams were absent in the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta as they were 18th in the Asian rankings at the time. After a nine-year hiatus, the forthcoming Games will mark India’s return.
In a parallel track, the Indian women’s soccer team received similar consideration, earning the right to play in Hangzhou. The unveiling of their lineup will soon be released.
The extensive roster for the Asian Games 2023 Indian team features the following footballers:
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, Aniket Jadhav, Vikram Partap Singh, Rohit Danu, Sunil Chhetri.
Igor Stimac, the head coach, will lead the squad in Hangzhou.