The Indian football team, under new head coach Igor Stimac, will take on Tajikistan in the opening clash of the Hero Intercontinental Cup scheduled to be held in Ahmedabad from July 7 to 18.
After facing Tajikistan on July 5, India will meet North Korea on July 13, followed by their match against Syria on July 16. The top two teams from the round robin stage will qualify for the final that is scheduled on July 18.
According to the latest FIFA rankings released in April, Syria are ranked 83rd followed by Tajikistan and North Korea, who are placed 120 and 121 respectively. India currently occupied 101st position in the rankings.
The Blue Tigers are the defending champions as they lifted the title last year with a victory against Kenya in the final. The other two teams that competed last year were New Zealand and Chinese Taipei.
Defending champion India takes on Tajikistan in its first match on the opening day, while Syria and DPR Korea are the other two participating teams. All teams will play each other once with the top two making it to the final. All matches kick-off at 8pm.
Stimac stated that “all players worked really hard at the preparatory camp in Mumbai.”
“We are satisfied with the execution of work for the past ten days,” he informed. “The players worked really hard, and we are all very enthusiastic about our upcoming games,” he added.
Indian Arrows defender Narender Gahlot was named in the list along with Mandar Rao Desai. The list will be cut down to 23 prior to the kick-off of the tournament.
This is the first time Gujarat is hosting a Senior Men’s International competition.
Stimac, who coached Croatia to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 expressed, “all our work has been programmed to get us in form for the qualifiers.” The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers kick-off in September, the draw for which is slated for later this month.
“Once again, I will use the upcoming games in the tournament to have a look at all the players in action. Each one of them deserve the chance,” the Coach explained.
Stimac had summoned a list of 35 players for the preparatory camp in Mumbai which had kicked-off in Mumbai on June 25. The 10 players who were released include Vishal Kaith, Nishu Kumar, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sarthak Golui, Anwar Ali, Raynier Fernandes, Michael Soosairaj, Nikhil Poojary, Jackichand Singh, and Balwant Singh, while Ashique Kuruniyan was earlier released from the camp.
India’s 23-man Squad:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Narender Gahlot, Subhasish Bose, Jerry Lalrinzuala.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mandar Rao Desai.
FORWARDS: Jobby Justin, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.
Intercontinental Cup 2019 fixtures are as follows:
July 7: India vs Tajikistan
July 8: Syria vs DPR Korea
July 10: Tajikistan vs Syria
July 13: India vs DPR Korea
July 15: DPR Korea vs Tajikistan
July 16: India vs Syria
July 18: Final.