AFC Asian Cup 2023: Chhangte, Amrinder likely to miss India’s match against Uzbekistan

Winger Chhangte and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh are added to India’s injured list ahead of the AFC Asian Cup Group B clash.

Published : Jan 17, 2024 20:46 IST , DOHA - 2 MINS READ

Lallianzuala Chhangte in action for India in the AFC Asian Cup.
Lallianzuala Chhangte in action for India in the AFC Asian Cup. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Lallianzuala Chhangte in action for India in the AFC Asian Cup. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

India is set to miss winger Lallianzuala Chhangte and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh in its next match in the AFC Asian Cup 2023, against Uzbekistan, at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium here on Thursday.

“We do have a couple of players with certain problems (after the) Australia game. So, changes will be there. I will not name the players who are with the problems obviously, but changes are coming,” India’s head coach Igor Stimac had told the reporters in the pre-match press conference.

Hours later, on the training pitch at the Al Elga training complex in Doha, only two players were absent from the warm-ups – Chhangte and Amrinder.

Stimac had previously said that he would not compel a player to take the pitch until they are 100 per cent fit.

“I’ve never forced any player to go and play, with the injury, to represent the country. I don’t have the right as a coach to his players who are paid by the clubs to do anything stupid and silly because their heart is telling them to go out and play,” he had said before the first match.

Amrinder’s injury will not sting India too much, with the Odisha FC goalie being the second-choice goalkeeper to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

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However, the loss of Chhangte will tamper India’s attacking plans significantly, as he has been one of the most consistent national team forwards in recent times.

In 2023, he scored and assisted in the Intercontinental Cup final, equalised against Kuwait to force the SAFF Championship final into penalties and assisted in the winner against Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier – all matches which ended in favour of the Blue Tigers.

His absence will force Stimac to rummage for alternatives, with Mahesh Singh Naorem being the most suitable one, having played in that position multiple times for club and country.

The Croat was seen having a long chat with Brandon Fernandes, Mahesh and Liston Colaco before the team got into a huddle followed by warm-ups.

On the other hand, Sahal Abdul Samad, who has been recuperating from an ankle injury and missed the opening fixture, was seen to return to the training pitch.

Though the coach has stated that the Mohun Bagan Super Giant player was not match-fit for the next game, his return will be music to the years of Indian football fans as he might be available for the final group-stage match, against Syria on January 23.

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