Indian coach Stephen Constantine announced the 22-member squad for India’s first ever International fixture against China on October 13. The Match will be played at Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre. It is the first time when India will be playing a friendly match against Red Dragons in China.
Head coach Stephen blamed lack of preparation time against strong opponents. “We don’t have much time to practice against them. We needed a few more days. Going forward, we need to have more time for preparation in future. Most of the players will join us on October 8 because of the ISL. So we can’t train on 8th. We are training today and leaving tomorrow, so we have very less time to prepare as a team.” Stephen Constantine told reporters at the JLN Stadium Delhi.
Their ISL franchises will occupy star players including Indian captain Sunil Chhetri, but the players will reach the training camp by October 8. It will be difficult for the coach and the Captain to make strategies against the fancied rival China in such a short span.
In-form striker, Balwant Singh was dropped because of his passport validity period. His passport is about to expire, so his VISA was rejected from the Chinese embassy. On the unavailability of Balwant Stephen said, his (Balwant) passport will expire in less than six months, five months or a week to be exact. We have to drop him because of his VISA rejection. In the past 18 months, he has been doing well.
On China, Constantine admitted that it is going to be difficult for us to beat China at their home turf. “We are entirely aware of China. They will be a tough side. They play possession football with a high line of defenders.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Karanjit Singh.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Sarthak Golui, Anas Edathodika, Subhasish Bose, Salam Ranjan Singh, Narayan Das.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Pronay Halder, Nikhil Poojary, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Halicharan Narzary, Ashique Kuruniyan.
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Sumeet Passi, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Farukh Choudhary.