India face-off against Tajikistan, hoping to start afresh after the Challenge Cup fiasco, and at the same time, ending their long win-less streak away from home...
Chettri, Arnab, Gouramangi, Denzil
Shylo, Ralte, Miranda
Nazarov, Rajabov, Suvonkulov, Tukhtasunov
Fatkhuloev, Vasiev, Sodikov
India take on Tajikistan in a friendly match at the 20 years of Independence Stadium in Khujand on Wednesday, hoping to end their eight year win-less streak in away games.
The last time the Blue Tigers won a game away from home was in 2005, when a Abdul Hakim goal saw India pip Pakistan by a score-line of 1-0, which too must be noted, was a part of a three game series.
In recent times, Wim Koevermans has often stressed on the need to play International friendlies to help improve the national side’s ranking. However in the two one-off friendlies the Blue Tigers have played under him, the side has slumped to a 4-2 loss to Palestine at home and a 2-0 loss to Singapore, in an away tie.
Wim Koevermans hopes to guide India to a rare away win...
For the game against Tajikistan, Koevermans has made a big call by leaving out stalwarts like Subrata Pal and Syed Rahim Nabi, alongwith several other players, who did not have a full pre-season behind them, and has also given Arnab Mondal, Lalrindika Ralte, Sandesh Jhinghan and Dawson Fernandes a call-up.
The four of them will be looking to get a chance to impress the coach, and help seal their place in the squad for the SAFF Championship in Nepal. India’s biggest problem maybe at left-back, with Gurujinder Kumar being ruled out due to an injury, while Syed Rahim Nabi being left out of the squad.
They can expect to face a resurgent Tajikistan side, which like India, has failed to make the AFC Challenge Cup main edition. With a full-house of 25,000 expected at the stadium, the Crown’s will be looking to kick-off Mukhsin Mukhamadiev’s reign as the coach of the side, with a win.
The former Rubin Kazan Director of Sports has not called up any overseas based player for the friendly, but will expect nothing but a win in his first game in-charge, especially with the home advantage that he enjoys.
When the Tajikistan U-17 team reached the U-17 World Cup in 2007, it was expected that the national team would also move swiftly upwards in the future. However the transition from youth football to senior International football hasn’t been too smooth for the Crown’s youngsters.
Tajikistan is presently going through a transitional phase...
While the onus remains on phasing in those talented youngsters into the side, the experience of attacking midfielder Dilshod Vasiev, who is expected to play off the main striker, and central midfielder Khurshed Mahmudov will be vital for the side, especially with record goal-scorer Yusuf Rabiev now seemingly out of favour.
With both the teams looking to start afresh after a disastrous AFC Challenge Cup qualifying campaign, the game should definitely be an interesting one, with the Blue Tigers hoping to take advantage of a Tajikistan team in transition to break their eight year winless streak away from home.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- While the Tajikistan Football Federation was formed in 1936, it didn’t field a national team until 1994, well after its independence from the Soviet Union.
- While it has been eight years since India won a friendly on away shores, the 1-0 win against Pakistan too was a part of a three game series. India’s last one-off triumph was versus Kuwait, when the team registered a 3-2 win in November 2004 during Stephen Constantine’s reign.
- Of the 20 man squad that has travelled to Tajikistan, four of the players are yet to play for the national team. This list includes Dawson Fernandes, Malswamtulunga Shylo, Arnab Mondal and Sandesh Jhinghan.
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