India U-23 National Team camp kicked-off at the Tilak Maidan in Goa today, March 3 with newly-appointed coach Derrick Pereira taking charge of the youngsters.
The camp is being held as part of India’s preparation for the upcoming AFC U-23 Championship 2020 qualifiers which are slated to be held in Tashkent from March 22.
38 players have been summoned for the camp with 19 have joined so far. The rest will be dropping in after finishing their respective club commitments, both at the domestic level and also at the AFC Cup.
Not less than 8 players who had represented India in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup – India, have also been called up. Overall, 11 players from India Arrows will be in action at the camp.
“It is important to get all the players together,” coach Pereira maintained. “All the boys are coming back at the end of a long season. Ashique (Kuruniyan), Jerry (Lalrinzuala), Hitesh (Sharma) are ruled out. All of them will be badly missed,” he informed. “We need to check the niggles and fitness levels of all in the camp. We cannot afford to lose anyone anymore.”
Nishu Kumar, Anirudh Thapa, Mohammed Nawaz and Sairuatkima haven’t been able to join this camp owing to their club commitments, while Ashique Kuruniyan, Sahil Panwar and Jerry Lalrinzuala have been ruled out courtesy injuries and Hitesh Sharma is suffering from chicken pox.
The squad will be flying to Doha to play a friendly match against Qatar U-23 National Team before the continental championship qualifiers.
“I am very excited to play Qatar. I feel most of the boys from that team will go on to play in the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It will be a tough test.”