Our aim is to qualify for 2018 AFC U-23 C'ships: Stephen Constantine
As the Indian football team are currently attending the final preparatory camp ahead of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers kicked off at the Ambedkar Stadium in the national capital on Monday, national coach Stephen Constantine has said that his side would not carry laid back attitude and focus on qualifying for the main event.
34 players have been summoned for the camp which will continue until July 1 before the team departs for an exposure trip to the USA.
Besides players playing in the I-League, Constantine has also called two players from the U-22 trials, players for which were scouted by the AIFF scouting network led by Executive Committee member Abhishek Yadav. Yadav and his team had selected players from inter-university championships, inter-college tournaments, Santosh Trophy, Second Division League, Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) as well as the overseas scouting programme.
India are slated to face Syria, Turkmenistan and Qatar in Group C of 2018 AFC U-18 Championship Qualifiers, which is scheduled to be held from 19 July to 23 July in Doha, Qatar.
"Our aim is to qualify for the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship. The qualifiers are in a month's time and hence, we can't just sit back and ponder over," Constantine maintained. "New Delhi is the ideal venue to get acclimatised to the current weather of Qatar. Our focus was on working in the similar conditions to Qatar," he added.
AIFF has also organised for an exposure Tour for the squad to the USA which Constantine believes will "come in handy."
"We are scheduled to go on an exposure trip to California early next month. We'll play three or possibly four competitive matches against some club age-group teams and senior teams which will definitely come handy before we face Qatar, Syria and Turkmenistan in the Qualifiers," Constantine mentioned.
The list of players attending the camp is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Vishal Kaith, Sukhadev Shivaji Patil, Kamaljit Singh, Phurba Tempa Lechenpa.
Defenders: Nishu Kumar, Lalramchullova, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sarthak Golui, Sairuatkima, Lalruatthara, Nitesh Deepak Aswani, Subhasish Bose, Jerry Lalrinzuala.
Midfielders: Nikhil Chandrashekhar Poojary, Raynier Raymond Fernandes, Isaac Vanmalsawma Chhakchhuak, Germanpreet Singh, Vinit Rai, Mawihmingthanga, Asharudeen Pulparamban, Saurabh Das, Enestar Malngiang, Robinson Singh Khumukcham, Vignesh Dakshina Murthy, Chesterpoul Lyngdoh, Lallianzuala Chhangte.
Forwards: Hitesh Sharma, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Anto Xavier, Alen Deory, Manvir Singh, Azharuddin Mullick.