Bhubaneswar, July 23 (IANS) India U-20 national team head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh on Saturday announced a 23-member squad for the upcoming SAFF U-20 Championship here.
India will open their campaign against Bangladesh at the Kalinga Stadium, here on Wednesday.
“Being the best side in South Asia, expectations will be high. The tournament is special for us, and a great opportunity for the boys to have a taste of International football post the long pandemic,” coach Venkatesh told www.the-aiff.com.
While the team will be playing international football after almost two years, the India U-20 side has competed at the domestic level in the I-League, and the IFA Shield over the last two seasons, with most of the players in the U-20 side being drafted from Indian Arrows.
“The I-League was a great opportunity for the boys to develop over the last two seasons. They have certainly come a long way having played against quality senior opponents. All the boys are raring to go at the opportunity to don the India jersey,” the head coach said.
Moving forward together, the U-20 footballers will be playing the AFC U-20 Championship Qualifiers in September where they have drawn in Group H alongside Australia, Kuwait, and hosts Iraq.
“The team is quite motivated to do well both in South Asia and at the Continental level. They are aware of the value and the importance of doing well in Asia which is why the SAFF Championship is a good platform for us to prepare well,” Venkatesh, himself a former India captain, said.
Goalkeepers: Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari, Mohit Singh Dhami, Som Kumar
Defenders: Amandeep, Halen Nongtdu, Bikash Yumnam, Sajad Hussain Parray, Raj Basfore, Brijesh Giri, Tankadhar Bag, Pritam Meetei Sorokhaibam
Midfielders: Sibajit Singh Leimapokpam, Vibin Mohanan, Vinay Harji, Maheson Singh Tongbram, Sujit Singh, Harsh Sailesh Patre, Taison Singh Loitongbam, Macarton Louis Nickson
Forwards: Gurkirat Singh, Parthib Sundar Gogoi, Himanshu Jangra, Shubho Paul
Head Coach: Shanmugam Venkatesh