Abu Dhabi: Stressing on continuity, chief coach Stephen Constantine has announced a 23-member Indian football team, to be spearheaded by the seasoned Sunil Chhetri, for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup.
The Asian Cup is scheduled to be held in the UAE from 5 January to 1 February.
India play their first match against Thailand on 6 January, with matches against hosts UAE and Bahrain slotted for 10 January and 14 January, respectively.
"It was very important to keep on the continuity. It'll be silly of me to completely change the way we do things. Most of these boys are with us for some time now," Constantine said.
"The other five boys (from the list of 28) will also stay with us until 2 January. In case of an injury or anything else happens, these five boys will need to step up," he added.
"We are looking forward to the massive tournament. We hope these 23 boys will do a good job for us."
The Blue Tigers were the first among 23 visiting teams to arrive in Abu Dhabi on 20 December. A 28-member squad had travelled to Abu Dhabi and have been practicing in an effort to acclimatize themselves to the conditions.
Meanwhile, national teams director Abhishek Yadav said the continental showpiece is a "significant platform" for the side to enter top 8 in Asia.
"We are aiming for top-8 status in Asia for men's and top-3 status in Asia for women's national teams by 2026. All our programmes are designed to achieve this end, and the Asian Cup will massively help in our quest," said Yadav, a former India striker.
He added, "It is a very significant platform for players to gain recognition as a lot of people connected to continental or global football watch the event closely for talents.
"I feel more people out there need to realise that this is our equivalent of the Euros or the Copa America. This is a big deal.
The final list of 23 is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith, Amrinder Singh
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Sarthak Golui, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhashish Bose, Narayan Das
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackiechand Singh, Germanpreet Singh, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Rowllin Borges, Ashique Kuruniyan, Halicharan Narzary
Forwards: Sumeet Passi, Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhteri, Jeje Lalpekhlua.
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Updated Date: Dec 27, 2018 18:25:09 IST