By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team
MARGAO: Indian Senior National Team Players assembled in Goa for the forthcoming International Friendly against Bangladesh which is slated to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on March 5, 2014.
However, nine Players including National Team Captain Sunil Chhetri would be joining the squad on Sunday (March 2, 2014) due to Airtel I-League commitments with their respective Clubs.
Apart from Chhetri and his Bengaluru FC Teammate Robin Singh, East Bengal’s Mehtab Hossain, Arnab Mondal, Lalrindika Ralte; Mohun Bagan’s Aiborlang Khongjee; Pune FC’s Gurjinder Kumar and Amrinder Singh and Mumbai FC’s Sandesh Jhingan couldn’t join the squad on Saturday.
Subrata Paul, presently playing for FC Vestsjaelland was one of the first Players to check into the team Hotel. Looking fitter than ever before, Paul smiled and said: “It’s always great to come back to your Country. It’s time for an International Friendly and I am looking forward to meeting everyone and giving my best for my Country," Paul told www.the-aiff.com.
Balwant Singh, presently the second-highest Indian goalscorer in Airtel I-League with eight goals (as on March 1, 2014) sounded ‘excited’ about being a part of the National squad. “It feels nice to be rewarded for my efforts. Earlier, I used to follow the National Team and now being a part of it makes me feel excited,” he said.
“The call-up to the National squad is just an inspiration for me to do better. The call-up means that I am on the right track. It makes me more motivated,” he added.
“I am eager for tips from National Coach Wim Koevermans to fine-tune myself.”
Balwant’s room-partner Goalkeeper Karanjit Singh stated “being a part of the National squad is the best thing for a Footballer.”
“It’s true that we get to meet, greet and play against each other almost every alternate day. But at the Camp, we get to spend time and learn from each other at the same time,” he opined.
“At the same time it’s the certificate that you are working hard and hence, are being rewarded for it. For us, the National squad is a bonus and everyone looks forward to being a part of it.”
“It will be a tough match against Bangladesh. The last time we played against each other in the SAFF Championship the match ended 1-1. We are all looking forward to the Match. Playing an International Match is so different. The intensity in International Football is so much higher and it makes you more complete as a Footballer,” he further stated.
Sporting Clube de Goa Player Victorino Fernandes maintained he has been waiting for the International Friendly. “It will be played in my hometown Goa. It’s upto the Coach to decide whether I will be playing or not. But being named in the squad makes me more confident as a Player. I wait for the practice sessions to begin,” Fernandes quipped.
The Indian squad will be having their first practice session on Sunday.
The 20-member squad list is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Karanjit Singh (Salgaocar SC), Amrinder Singh (Pune FC), Subrata Paul (FC Vestsjaelland).
DEFENDERS: Denzil Franco (Churchill Brothers), Arnab Mondal (East Bengal), Aibhorlang Khongjee (Mohun Bagan), Sandesh Jhingan (Mumbai FC), Gurjinder Kumar (Pune FC), Narayan Das (Dempo SC).
MIDFIELDERS: Mehtab Hossain, Lalrindika Ralte (both East Bengal), Lenny Rodrigues (Churchill Brothers), Rocus Lamare (Salgaocar SC), Alwyn George, Clifford Miranda (both Dempo SC), Francis Fernandes (Salgaocar SC), Victorino Fernandes (Sporting Clube de Goa).
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh (both Bengaluru FC), Balwant Singh (Churchill Brothers).
Posted on : Saturday March 01, 2014