AFC U-23 C’ship Qualifiers: Indian training camp gets underway

Those called up for the camp include eight participants from the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, and 11 from Indian Arrows, the I-League club.

Thirty eight players will train at the camp. Representative Image: Getty Images

A national training camp kicked off at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Sunday as part of India’s preparations for the upcoming AFC U-23 Championship 2020 Qualifiers.

Nineteen players out of the 38 summoned have arrived for the camp so far; the others will join in after completing commitments for their clubs. Derrick Pereira, the newly-appointed coach, will take charge. Those called up for the camp include eight participants from the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, and 11 from Indian Arrows, the I-League club.

'Cannot afford to lose anyone'

Pereira said: “It is important to get all the players together. All the boys are coming back at the end of a long season. Ashique [Kuruniyan], Jerry [Lalrinzuala, and] Hitesh [Sharma] are ruled out. All of them will be badly missed. We need to check the niggles and fitness levels of all in the camp. We cannot afford to lose anyone any more.”

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Ashique, Jerry and Sahil Panwar are injured, while Hitesh Sharma has chicken pox. Nishu Kumar, Anirudh Thapa, Mohd. Nawaz and Sairuatkima haven’t been able to join the camp owing to club commitments.

At the conclusion of the camp, the team will travel to Doha to play a friendly match against the Qatar U-23 national team, before entering the AFC U-23 Championship 2020 Qualifiers. “I am very excited to play Qatar. I feel most of the boys from that team will go on to play in the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It will be a tough test,” Pereira said.

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