Summary: Players from Manipur once again dominate a national football squad as the India U-19 team take on hosts Saudi Arabia in the AFC U-19 Championships Qualifiers on Friday. Nine players from the state have made it to the squad picked for the qualifiers.
Manipur had earlier made headlines when eight players from the state had made it to the squad that played in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The nine players selected for the AFC qualifier include goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, U-17 captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam and only Indian goal scorer in the World Cup, Jeakson Singh.
India U-19 coach Luis Norton de Matos has promoted the core of the U-17 World Cup squad, giving them a chance to enhance their career. The 23-member squad which was picked after a week-long camp, includes 13 from the U-17 World Cup squad and 10 players from India’s U-19 team which recemtly played in the SAFF U-19 Championship in Bhutan.
Altogether there are 13 young colts from the Northeastern states of Manipur, Mizoram (2) and Sikkim (2) in the U-19 national squad for the AFC Qualifiers.
All eyes will be on Dheeraj Singh, the star of the Indian U-17 WC squad, who has been cited by AFC as the one of the eight top players to watch out for. Out of the 989 players (43 teams in the qualifiers with 23 players in each squad squad), AFC has drafted down eight players who stand out from the crowd.
The notable exclusions from the U-19 squad include Komal Thatal, Abhijit Sarkar and Aniket Jadhav.
The 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, with Indonesia as appointed hosts, will be the 40th edition of the AFC U-19 Championship, the biennial international football championship organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the men’s under-19 national teams of Asia.
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Nawaz, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill.
Defenders: Namgyal Bhutia, Sahil Panwar, Deepak Tangri, Ashish Rai, Boris Singh, Sanjeev Stalin, Anwar Ali, Jitendra Singh.
Midfielders : Abhishek Halder, Princeton Rebello, Suresh Singh, Amarjit Singh, Rahul KP, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Nongdamba Naorem, Jeakson Singh.
Forwards: Edmund Lalrindika, Roshan Singh, Lalawmpuia, Rahim Ali.