A day after their new skin was unveiled the Blue Tigers landed safely in Abu Dhabi (on December 20, 2018), seventeen days prior to the kick-off of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
The Indian contingent was welcomed at the Airport by officers from Indian Embassy. Some fans had also dropped in to welcome their heroes.
India have been drawn in Group A and play their first match against Thailand on January 6, before facing hosts UAE on January 10, and Bahrain on January 14 respectively. This is the 4th time India have qualified for the Continental Championship, the last being in Doha 2011.
India will also be playing Oman in an International Friendly as part of the preparation on December 27.
“We received a warm welcome from the Indian Embassy and the fans on arrival. I need to thank them for their warmth,” Head Coach Stephen Constantine said. “The mood of the camp is good and we look forward to acclimatize fast,” he added.The 28-member squad proceeded directly to the team hotel and even had a light evening session.
“Everyone is excited about the prospect of playing against the best teams in Asia. It’s been a long journey for us that started in March 2015,” Constantine reflected. “It is fantastic for us to be here as we deserved to be here. But now it is time to show how good we are,” he maintained.
The 28-member squad stays as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Arindam Bhattacharya, Vishal Kaith.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Lalruatthara, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Pronay Halder, Vinit Rai, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, German P Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Halicharan Narzary, Lallianzuala Chhangte.
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary, Sumeet Passi.