SAFF Cup probables list include diverse range of players

Among the 40 players selected for the SAFF Cup in Thiruvananthapuram later this month are players from players local leagues and even members from All India Football Federation (AIFF) Under-19 Elite Academy.

"We have selected a squad which encompasses all of Indian football — right from state leagues, Under-19 academy players, players from I-League and the ISL. We are building a team for the future," Stephen Constantine, India's coach, said.   -  Reuters

National football coach Stephen Constantine has named 40 probables for the forthcoming SAFF Cup to be held in Thiruvananthapuram later this month with players from local leagues and even members from All India Football Federation (AIFF) Under-19 Elite Academy being called up for the first time.

The initial list of 28 probables for the tournament spanning December 23 to January 3 will assemble at a preparatory camp in Kochi on December 9 with practice commencing next day.

Keeping in tune with his vision of selecting a pan-Indian squad, Constantine’s selected 40 probables include players from the local leagues, those not part of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) and even members from AIFF Under-19 Elite Academy.

“This is perhaps the first time in recent times where three players who have not ever even donned a jersey for any I-League club have been summoned for the camp. Two of them having played for Army XI, while the [third] is at present a student at Calcutta University who had played for SAI (Sports Authority of India) in the Kolkata Premier League."

'A team for the future'

Talking about the probables, Constantine said: “We have selected a squad which encompasses all of Indian football — right from state leagues, Under-19 academy players, players from I-League and the ISL. We are building a team for the future.

“In my first press conference in New Delhi, I had mentioned that we will be keeping a tab on all football players who play beyond the I-League and the ISL. We are trying to expand our pool of players,” he said. “28 players will join us initially. With the ISL going on, it gives us an opportunity to call up those players that we would not have been able to work with. It’s not bad the way it’s worked out,” he added.

Constantine thanked All India Football Federation for ‘allowing’ him to work with the players in the ‘long’ camp. “I am thankful to All India Football Federation for allowing me this length of camp. We have 12-14 days to prepare which is very good, the level of fitness is not there and we need to work on that front.”

The list of 40 Probables:

Goalkeepers: Subrata Paul, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Karanjit Singh, Laxmikant Kattimani, Amrinder Singh.

Defenders: Aiborlang Khongjee, Lalchhuanmawia, Sandesh Jhingan, Koushik Sarkar (SAI, Kolkata), Robin Gurung, Arnab Mondal, Augustine Fernadnes, Rino Anto, Narayan Das, Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika.

Midfielders: Malswamzuala (AIFF Under-19 Academy), Jain Punchakadan (Army XI), Alwyn George, Rowin Borges (both non-ISL Players), Cavin Lobo, Sanju Pradhan, Irom Seityasen Singh, Rowlin Borges, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Francisco Fernandes, Mohammed Rafique, Bikash Jairu, Pronoy Halder, Romeo Fernandes, Sehnaj Singh.

Forwards: Daniel Lalramzuava (AIFF Under-19 Academy), Arjun Tudu (Army XI), Sunil Chhetri, Holicharan Narzary, Udanta Singh, Robin Singh, Jeje Lalpeklhua, Haokip, Sumeet Passi.

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