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Is Stimac Right about the selection of the Indian National Team Squad?

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Indian Men's National Football team Fifa March window friendlies have been announced. It will be like a Tri-Nation Friendly series where India, Myanmar, and the Kyrgyz Republic would be participating. 106, 159 & 94 are their respective Fifa Rankings. The Series will be held in India from 22nd March to 28th March. For the 1st time ever in Indian Football's History, the venue has been decided as Manipur in the North East Region of India.

Why Manipur is so Special?

We all know that India is Cricket loving country, but there are a few parts of India where Football is worshipped much more than Cricket such as Kerala, Goa, the North East region, and Bengal. Though recently cricket has been able to make deep inroads in Bengal, Kerala but in North East Cricket has not been able to make any inroads. In the North East Region lies the 7 Sisters among whom Manipur & Mizoram are the most developed state in terms of Football. Meghalaya and Arunachal are also catching up slowly. Young Players like Gyamar Nikum are expected to put Arunachal on the Football Map of India.

Despite so much popularity and love for football in Manipur & Manipur delivering so many talented National team players over the decades such as Rennedy Singh; no International fixtures have been held in Manipur or Mizoram till now. This progressive step by the new AIFF regime has made many ex-National Team players happy and the people of Manipur happy too.

Questions are being raised about the selection of National Team Players:

The squad for the two friendlies has finally been announced by head coach Igor Stimac and people are raising questions about the squad selection. A 23-man squad along with an 11-reserve team has been announced. Fans are claiming that the squad has not been announced according to the performance of the 2022-2023 ISL season and like every time there has been a touch of favoritism to a few players. The selection of Manvir, Glen, and Amrinder in the 23-man main squad leaves a big doubt. Leaving out Naorem Mahesh, Rahul KP, Asish Rai, and the Golden gloves winner Vishal Kaith from the 23-man squad leaves a big question and controversy over the selection. Mahesh an LW/CAM, Rahul- RW, Asish Rai- RB, and Vishal-GK really deserved to be in the 23-man primary squad after the performance they delivered.

1) Mahesh was one of the bright spots for East Bengal in their poor season; his vision for assist is phenomenal in the final third where India actually lacks creative players. This was Mahesh's 1st season for East Bengal in ISL and maybe that is why the Coach wanted him to prove more consistency before he finally gets called up in the National Team but still I think he should have been given the debut.

2) Rahul KP another young prospect from Kerala Blasters didn't receive the call; maybe he didn't score goals which many expect him to do but his work rate on the ball gave a huge thrust in Kerala Blaster's attacks. His dribbling skills to go, past players, have improved and he could have been a huge reinforcement on the right wing for putting lethal crosses inside the box. Scoring goals shouldn't be the only criteria.

3) Vishal Kaith the golden gloves winner not selected over Amrinder who made many mistakes in the keeping position for Odhish FC has been a big surprise and letdown. 4) Asish Rai leftout from the primary 23-man squad is another matter to be questioned. The boy who bombed down the right side for ATK Mohun Bagan throughout the season as a right full-back not selected can leave that full-back position vulnerable and that can hamper attacks against Myanmar or Kyrgyzstan.

Previously also questions have been raised over Igor Stimac's squad selection and favoritism and match results have gone the other way. India has drawn with teams that we don't expect to draw with. The Indian National Team will be playing friendlies after so many days and fans are really very excited, especially people from Manipur. Don's miss the action on the 25th and 28th when the National Team would be playing their respective friendlies.


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