India vs Nepal friendlies: U-17 FIFA WC team member Ali, FC Goa’s Fernandes get maiden India call-ups- India’s 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup member Rahim Ali and FC Goa defender Seriton Fernandes got their maiden call-ups as national football team head coach Igor Stimac on Friday named a 25-member squad for the twin international friendlies against Nepal next month.
India plays against Nepal on September 2 and 5 in Kathmandu.
After being a part of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup team, Ali, now 21, played for Indian Arrows for two years and then joined Chennaiyin FC in 2019. He has also been part of the India U20 and U23 sides.
India vs Nepal friendlies: He will now be in the company of talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri upfront along with Manvir Singh and Farukh Choudhary.
Defender Fernandes, 28, was a part of the FC Goa side that played in the AFC Champions League earlier this year. He had a bout COVID-19 in May.
Another defender Mandar Rao Dessai returned to the squad after missing the 2022 World Cup qualification campaign in Qatar in June. Adil Khan also did not figure in the final 25-member squad.
Senior defender Sandesh Jhingan, who has joined Croatian top division side HNK Sibenik, understandably did not make it to the squad.
India vs Nepal friendlies: Another notable omission is the Bengaluru FC winger Udanta Singh who was dropped from the squad that played friendly matches against the UAE and Oman in March but returned for the subsequent World Cup qualifiers in June.
Rowllin Borges, Lallianzuala Chhangte, and Ashique Kuruniyan are the three other players missing from the last World Cup qualifying campaign squad.
The national team probables have been training in Kolkata since August 15.
While the ATK Mohun Bagan players join the camp in Kolkata on Friday, the Bengaluru FC players will join the rest of the squad in New Delhi Sunday. The team leaves for Nepal on Monday.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Akash Mishra, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes.
Midfielders: Lalengmawia, Bipin Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh, Pronay Halder.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.