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Sunil Chhetri ruled out of India's Bahrain friendlies

Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri has been ruled out of India’s international friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus on Monday.

Chhetri was taken off the 38-member probables squad that was announced by coach Igor Stimac on Friday.

 “I was really looking forward to the two friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus and it’s a shame I’ll be missing out. It’s been a long, tough season and I’ve suffered a few small injuries that need time to heal. I will be doing all I can to recover in time for the predatory camp in May,” Sunil told the AIFF website.

Stimac names 38 probables for friendlies in Bahrain, game against Belarus “on as of now”

“The potential this squad possesses is immense, and a lot of the lads are riding high on confidence on the back of good performances in the League season. I’m certain we’ll put out best foot forward. I’m wishing the team all the luck,” he added.

Goalkeepers Prabshukhan Gill and Mohammad Nawaz, defenders Deepak Tangri and Roshan Singh, and midfielders Vikram Partap Singh, VP Suhair, Aniket Jadav and Jerry Mawihmingthanga got their maiden national camp call-up for the matches against Bahrain (March 23) and Belarus (March 26).

There is still a cloud of uncertainty whether India will play against Belarus on March 26 as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had said on Tuesday that it was trying to “avoid” playing against the east European country which had extended support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. FIFA has suspended Russia but has not announced any such measure for Belarus as yet.

Stimac: Pursuit of regular success in AFC Asian Cup must for India

On Thursday, European football governing body UEFA barred Belarus from hosting international games but it will have no impact on India’s international friendly.

“The match (against Belarus) is still on as of now. If FIFA bans Belarus, the match stands cancelled, we cannot play them in that case. But as of now Belarus is not banned,” an AIFF source said.

The preparatory camp will start in Pune from March 10. The players whose clubs would be playing in the semifinals of the ongoing Indian Super League will be joining the camp as and when their club commitments end. The list will be pruned later and the Indian squad will depart for Bahrain on March 21.

Indian men’s football team to play international friendlies against Bahrain, Belarus

List of probables –

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh, Prabhshukhan Gill, Mohammad Nawaz.

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Ashutosh Mehta, Seriton Fernandes, Ashish Rai, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Deepak Tangri, Narender Gahlot, Chinglensana Singh, Subhashish Bose, Akash Mishra, Mandar Rao Dessai, Roshan Singh.

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Brandon Fernandes, VP Suhair, Lalengmawia, Sahal Abdul Samad, Yasir Mohammad, Ashique Kuruniyan, Aniket Jadav, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Jerry Mawihmingthanga.

Forwards: Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco, Rahim Ali.

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