A surprise inclusion in Igor Stimac’s list of 35 probables for Hero Intercontinental Cup

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XtraTime Web Desk: Indian Football team head coach Igor Stimac has called back veteran central defender Anas Edathodika in the list of 35 probables for the camp before Hero Intercontinental Cup. The Blue Tigers will begin their camp at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on June 25.

Anas, who had announced his retirement from International Football after the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 informed www.the-aiff.com that he had “received a call from Coach Stimac,” after which he “contemplated coming out of International retirement.”

“Coach Stimac has shown his faith in me, and it’s my turn to repay him,” Anas said. “Coach asked me to join the upcoming camp. Honestly, I was taken aback. Later Venky-bhai (Assistant Coach Venkatesh Shanmugam) shared all details, and I just can’t wait to join the camp,” he stated.

Stimac, who in his second match as Coach of India guided India to their first-ever away win over Thailand in Thailand appreciated Anas’ decision.

“Anas had played a significant role under Mr. Constantine, and I welcome his decision to accept my call, and make himself available for the National Team after we spoke,” the Coach expressed.

Referring to the adulation which he earned while playing for the National Team, Anas revealed, “the respect I earned while playing for the National Team is something which has pushed me to challenge myself again.

“At the moment, I’m just focussing on the camp, and not thinking about making the cut to the team at all. Whatever comes my way, I’ll accept it,” he admitted. “I’m equally passionate, and focused like I was a year back. I’m ready to push myself more.”

Stimac stressed that “playing for your country is the biggest honour any sportsman can get.”

“All our players should consider themselves candidates for the National Team shirt as far as they work hard, and keep playing well for their respective clubs,” Stimac quipped. “I use this opportunity to pay my regards, and best wishes for the upcoming season to all the players, managers and clubs in the Hero I-League, and the Hero ISL.”

Anas informed that every player he has spoken to, have rated Stimac very highly. “Every coach has a different philosophy, and approach the game differently. We had some great results before, and now all the boys whom I have spoken to, have lauded coach Stimac heavily,” Anas explained.

The other first-timers in the camp under Coach Stimac include defenders Sarthak Golui, and Narender Gehlot; and midfielders Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan, and Nikhil Poojary.

The Hero Intercontinental Cup will be held at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad from July 7-19, 2019. Defending champions India begin their campaign on the opening day against a strong Tajikistan on July 7, with DPR Korea, and Syria being the other two teams in the four-nation competition. Every team will be playing each other once, with the top two advancing to the final.

The list of 35 probables stay as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith.

DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Anwar Ali (Jr), Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Narender Gahlot.

MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojary, Michael Soosairaj.

FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jobby Justin, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.

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