The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced a 28-man squad for the upcoming 2022 Qatar World Cup and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifiers that get underway from Thursday, June 3. They will leave for Doha on May 19 to compete in three Group E qualifiers.

All travelling players and staff are expected to carry negative test results from the RTPCR tests conducted in the last 48 hours as per the health parameters required to enter Qatar. They were in isolation in the national capital in a bio-bubble at the team hotel from May 15 onwards.

The Sunil Chhetri-led Indian national football team are scheduled to play Asian Champions Qatar on June 3, Bangladesh on June 7, and Afghanistan on June 15 with all three matches taking place at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.

The upcoming round of matches played in Doha doesn’t follow the original format of home and away matches. India, currently on three points from three matches in Group E, need a third-place finish to secure automatic qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifying third round.

Among the 28 players set to fly to Doha, FC Goa’s Glan Martins is the only new player to receive a call-up to the senior Indian national team. The 26-year-old midfielder has hogged the limelight after impressive performances in the 2020-21 Indian Super League and the recent AFC Champions League group stage matches. Click here to view Glan Martins’ exclusive interview with SportsAdda!

Sunil Chhetri, the Indian national football team captain, expressed his relief after getting back into the national setup following a spell on the sidelines due to illness. “It’s such a relief to be back in the National team squad – after all, home is where the heart is. Personally, I am eagerly looking forward to being in Doha. The last time I was in Doha, I couldn’t be a part of the match against Qatar owing to illness,” the Blue Tigers skipper said.

“The matches in June are extremely tough and we need to take them one at a time. Given the fact that we don’t have much time, the preparatory camp will add immense value helping all to gel together, and strike that chord ahead of the first match,” he added.

Head coach Igor Stimac stated that the Indian national football team will be putting in “intense” sessions before their matches get underway.

“It’s not an ideal situation as we move ahead to the Qualifiers in June. Due to the pandemic, our National Camp which was slated to begin in Kolkata at the beginning of May had to get cancelled. The pandemic also robbed us of a friendly match in Dubai,” the Head Coach maintained.

“However, we understand the magnitude of the situation, and it will be intense sessions in Doha to raise the tempo and try to get ready for the matches which starts with the one against the Asian Champions Qatar in Doha,” Stimac said.

The Indian national football team had camped earlier in Dubai this year, after the completion of the domestic season, and participated in two FIFA International Friendlies against Oman and UAE.

Indian football team: World Cup Qualifiers schedule and match times

All match times are in Indian standard time (IST)

Date and Day Match Time (in IST) Venue
Thursday, June 3 India vs Qatar 10:30 PM IST Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Monday, June 7 Bangladesh vs India 7:30 PM IST Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Tuesday, June 15 India vs Afghanistan 7:30 PM IST Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha

Indian football team: Squad for 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh.

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Narender Gehlot, Chinglensana Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Akash Mishra, Subhasish Bose.

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Rowllin Borges, Glan Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Pronoy Halder, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Abdul Sahal, Yasir Mohammed, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan.

Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.

Featured photo: Twitter / Indian Football Team