Talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri returned to India’s soccer squad on Tuesday after a six-month hiatus when he was named in the 25-member squad for the international friendly against Jordan in Doha on May 28. Chhetri, 37, last played for India in their 3-0 win over Nepal in the SAFF Championships final in October but has since been sidelined due to injury. The squad, announced by national coach Igor Stimac, was chosen during an extended training camp in Kolkata.
Apart from Chhetri, Ishan Pandita has also returned to the forward line at the expense of VP Suhair and injured Rahim Ali.
In midfield, Glan Martins, Ritwik Das, Udanta Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Wangjam and Aashique Kuriniyan have been included, with Pronay Halder and Danish Bhat being the notable omissions.
The defense includes Rahul Bheke, Akash Mishra, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Roshan Singh, Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhashish Bose and Pritam Kotal.
While Gupreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh remain a constant under the crossbar, Laxmikath Kattimani replaced Prabhsukhan Singh Gill after his heroism in the ISL final.
The Blue Tigers, as part of their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup final qualifiers, had camped in Bellary and Kolkata. They played practice matches against ATK Mohun Bagan, All-Stars Hero I-League and Hero Santosh Trophy team and West Bengal team.
The Blue Tigers leave on May 25 for Doha, where they will continue their training before facing Jordan.
After the friendly match, the team is expected to return to Kolkata on May 30, before resuming training for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
The 25-member squad: Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Laxmikanth Kattimani, Amrinder Singh. Defenders: Rahul Bheke, Akash Mishra, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Roshan Singh, Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhashish Bose, Pritam Kotal.
Midfielders: Jeakson Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Glan Martins, Brandon Fernandes, Ritwik Das, Udanta Singh, Yasir Mohammad, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Wangjam, Ashique Kuruniyan, Liston Colaco.
Attackers: Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.
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