Asian Games 2023: Sunil Chhetri to captain Indian men’s football team in Hangzhou – full squad

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Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and defender Sandesh Jhingan are the two other senior players in the under-23 Indian team for the Asian Games.

On Tuesday, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced a 22-member Indian men’s football team for the Asian Games 2023, scheduled in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, from September 23 to October 8.

Striker Sunil Chhetri, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and defender Sandesh Jhingan are the three senior players in the squad to Hangzhou.

The men’s football event at the Asian Games has been an under-23 affair since 2002 with each team allowed a maximum of three players above 23 years.

The Indian men’s football team has been drawn in Group A alongside hosts China, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

India, 99th in the latest FIFA rankings, will be the second-best ranked team in their group behind China (80th). Myanmar are ranked 160th while Bangladesh are 189th.

The Indian men’s football team won gold medals at the New Delhi 1951 and Jakarta 1962 Asian Games while clinching a bronze at Bangkok 1970. The Hangzhou 2023 Games will be the 16th Asian Games appearance for the Indian men’s football team.

The Indian football team is participating in the Hangzhou Games as a special case. The sports ministry relaxed its rules on the basis of India’s current performances that saw the national team winning back-to-back international tournaments – Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Cup. 

As per government rules, teams that rank eighth or better in Asia are allowed to participate in continental events like the Asian Games. It was on this basis that Indian football teams did not play in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Indian men are currently ranked 18th in Asia. India will be participating in the upcoming Games after a gap of nine years.

The Indian women’s football team, which has also been cleared for Hangzhou as a special case by the sports ministry, will be announced at a later date.

Asian Games 2023 Indian men’s football team – full squad

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Gurmeet Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.

Defenders: Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Narender Gahlot, Lalchungnunga, Akash Mishra, Roshan Singh, Ashish Rai.

Midfielders: Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Apuia Ralte, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Rahul KP, Naorem Mahesh Singh.

Forwards: Siva Sakthi Narayanan, Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav, Vikram Partap Singh, Rohit Danu, Sunil Chhetri.

Head Coach: Igor Stimac.

Source: Olympics