New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS): Indian men's national team coach Igor Stimac has named a list of 23 players for the forthcoming SAFF Championship which kicks off in the Maldives from October 1. The final of the championship is slated for October 16.
The players and the support staff will assemble in Bengaluru on Monday (September 27), and will fly out to the Maldives the next day. Stimac and the other members of the technical staff will join the squad directly in Maldives on the same day.
Besides India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and hosts Maldives are the other teams in the championship. Each team plays the other once with the top two teams qualifying for the final.
"We are all looking forward to the SAFF Championship as the leading football country in this part of Asia. These 4-5 games are extremely crucial for us as we won't have any other chance of getting together before the start of the third round AFC Asian Cup qualifiers next season. So these matches should help us to improve a few points in our game," said Stimac.
India have won the SAFF Championship (formerly SAARC Cup) seven times -- 1993 Lahore, 1997 Kathmandu, 1999 Margao, 2005 Karachi, 2009 (U23 squad) Dhaka, 2011 New Delhi and 2015/16 Thiruvananthapuram.
India begin their campaign against Bangladesh on October 4.
India's fixtures in group stage:
October 4: Bangladesh vs India (IST 4.30pm).
October 7: India vs Sri Lanka (IST 4.30pm).
October 10: Nepal vs India (IST 8.30pm).
October 13: India vs Maldives (IST 8.30pm).
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.
FORWARDS: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.