The Indian U23 team is set and ready to embark on a new journey of qualification for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022. The Blue Colts have been drawn in Group E of the qualifiers.
India are clubbed with teams like Kyrgyz Republic, Oman and hosts the United Arab Emirates in Group E of the qualifiers. The matches are all set to be played between October 25 to 31 at the Fujairah Stadium in UAE.
Igor Stimac will lead the youngsters and hopefully, they will manage to put up a strong fight against some of the quality teams in the continent. The entire team assembled in Bengaluru on October 17 and will travel to UAE on October 20 for their respective matches.
Earlier a list of probables was out featuring many talented players from both the Indian Super League and I-League. However, the list was cut short to 23 players which obviously saw some of them failing to make the cut. The team has several players who have already featured for the senior team. Players like Suresh Singh Wangjam, Lalengmawia, Akash Mishra, Jeakson Singh, Rahim Ali and many more are present in this team.
Earlier the probables list of players had 28 names in total out of which five players failed to make the final cut. The list of players who failed to make the final team included, Bikash Yumnam (RoundGlass Punjab), Sahil Panwar (Odisha FC), Prateek Kumar Singh (NEROCA), Halen Nongtdu (Indian Arrows) and Sk Sahil (ATK Mohun Bagan). It was further reported that Sahil Panwar did not make the final team as he suffered an injury during a preseason clash.
Head coach Igor Stimac has highlighted how the level of the U-23 players have gone up all over the globe. He feels that players who have already plied their trade for the Indian national team will have an upper hand in facing pressure situations over their compatriots.
Every country has talented youngsters, and U-23 players who are already playing at the senior level for their respective countries, and so do we. But we need to find the balance in this team,” Igor Stimac stated.
“The good thing for us is that we already had a number of players from this bunch of players here who have been a part of the National Team, and are aware of what kind of weather is to be expected, and also the expectations from the fans,” he added. “Our aim is always the same – to go out and win every game. But it will depend on the approach we take depending on information about the strength of our opposition.”
India will start the qualifiers against Oman on October 25, followed by their match against UAE on October 28 and lastly, they will go up against the Kyrgyz Republic on October 31.