Chhetri returns to national team for international friendly against Jordan

Besides Chhetri, Ishan Pandita has also made a comeback in the forwardline at the cost of VP Suhair and injured Rahim Ali.

The 37-year-old Chhetri last played for India during their 3-0 win over Nepal in the SAFF Championships final in October but since then was sidelined due to injuries. (File Photo)   -  REUTERS

The long standing Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri joined the national squad after a prolonged absence as the head coach Igor Stimac named a 25-member squad that will travel to Doha to play a friendly match against Jordan on May 28.

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Chhetri, who last appeared for the national team that won the SAFF Championship in Maldives in October, took time off to recuperate from injuries after the end of the Indian Super League season.

Compared to the Indian squad that played a couple of friendlies in Bahrain in March, Stimac brought in a few changes taking into account the performances of the players in the ISL. Keeping an eye on the Asian Cup qualification final round, Stimac brought back a number of experienced names like Chhetri, Ishan Pandita, Sahal Abdul Samad,  Harmanjot Khabra, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Roshan Singh and Ritwik Das in the three departments - attack, defence and midfield.

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Among the goalkeepers Laxmikant Kattimani, who had a wonderful outing with Hyderabad FC in ISL, will be joining the regular choices Gurpreet Sandhu and Amrinder Singh.

Among the notable omissions are the likes of Chinglensana Singh, Pronoy Halder, Seriton Fernandes, V.P. Suhair and the injured Rahim Ali. The Indian team started the preparations for the Asian Cup final round qualifiers after the ISL season and had been camping in Bellary and Kolkata. The India team probables played practice matches against ATK Mohun Bagan (1-2), the I-League all-stars team (2-0) and the Santosh Trophy runner-up West Bengal (1-1) during the camp. Following the completion of the friendly against Jordan, the India seniors will return Kolkata on May 30 to resume the training. The Asian Cup final round qualifiers’ group D league will be played in Salt Lake Stadium from June 8.

The 25-member Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Laxmikanth Kattimani, Amrinder Singh.

Defenders: Rahul Bheke, Akash Mishra, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Roshan Singh, Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhashish Bose, Pritam Kotal.

Midfielders: Jeakson Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Glan Martins, Brandon Fernandes, Ritwik Das, Udanta Singh, Yasir Mohammad, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Wangjam, Ashique Kuruniyan, Liston Colaco.

Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.

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