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2018 SAFF Championship: India U23 to set up two-week camp in Australia

1:33 PM GMT 16/08/2018
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Stephen Constantine takes a 22-man squad Down Under in preparation to defend their title in Bangladesh next month...

The Indian national U-23 team will fly out to Australia on 17 August for a two-week camp to culminate their preparations for the 2018 SAFF Championships in September.

It appears the Indian team management have been provided with travel clearance documents from the Australian High Commission despite last-minute applications rendered their trip to be almost scrapped.
The Blue Tigers are most likely to play three practice matches down under, against two A-league sides and either one of the Socceroos' U-20 or U-23 side. They will be based at the Valentine Sports Park in Sydney before they fly out to Dhaka, Bangladesh on 1 September. 

The U-23 side had been training in New Delhi at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium since 28 July under the watchful eyes of head coach Stephen Constantine.

The Briton has selected a 22-man squad from an initial pool of 34 players to take Down Under. This squad will be further be trimmed to 20 when they embark for Dhaka.

The list of the 22 players (along with 2 reserve members):

GOALKEEPERS: Vishal Kaith, Kamaljit Singh, Sukhdev Patil.

DEFENDERS: Davinder Singh, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mohd. Sajid Dhot, Jerry Lalrinzuala.

MIDFIELDERS: Nikhil Poojary, Isaac Vanmalswama, Nandha Kumar, Vinit Rai, Germanpreet Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan, Vignesh D.

FORWARDS: Sumit Passi, Hitesh Sharma, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary.

RESERVES: Lalruatthara (Defender), Rohit Kumar (Midfielder).

Seven-time champions India have been drawn in Group B with Maldives and Sri Lanka. Hosts Bangladesh have been placed in Group A alongside Bhutan, Pakistan and Nepal. 

India are the defending champions of the SAFF Championship as they beat Afghanistan in the final in 2015. However, the Afghans will not be participating in the tournament as they have joined the Central Asian Football Association after seceding from SAFF.

India emerged victorious during the last time the tournament was played in Bangladesh, beating the Maldives in the final back in 2009. 

All the matches will be hosted at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. Bangladesh have won the title only once back in 2013 when they defeated the Maldives in a penalty shoot-out in the final. 

India will start their campaign on September 5 against Sri Lanka and will take on the Maldives three days later. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-final. The tournament decider has been scheduled on September 15.