Asian Cup 2011: India Announce Final 23-Man Squad

Young Gurpreet Singh Sandhu included...
The Indian national team has announced their final 23-man squad for next month's 2011 Asian Cup.

There were no real surprises as Anthony Pereira, Arindam Bhattacharya and Samir Naik were expected to miss out due to injury.

But the most notable omission was that of striker Mohammed Rafi, who was the highest Indian scorer in last season's I-League and was also adjudged as the Best Player of the league.

The man from Kerala didn't impress in the international friendly matches but did perform well in the Portugal tour and was expected to make the final squad but despite not being injured Bob Houghton didn't select him.

The young trio of N.Mohanraj, Jagpreet Singh and Baljit Singh Sahni failed to make the final list while experienced midfielder Lukram James Singh also missed out.

Uncapped Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been included in the squad because of the exclusion of third choice custodian Arindam Bhattacharya. Young defender Govin Singh has also made it to the 23.

Goalkeepers: Subrata Paul (Pune FC), Subhasish Roychowdhury (Dempo SC), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (AIFF XI)

Defenders: Surkumar Singh (Mohun Bagan), Gouramangi Moirangthem (Churchill Brothers), Anwar Ali (Free Agent), Mahesh Gawli (Dempo SC), Syed Rahim Nabi (East Bengal), Deepak Mandal (Free Agent), N.S. Manju (Free Agent), Rakesh Masih (Mohun Bagan) & Govin Singh (Free Agent)

Midfielders: Steven Dias (Churchill Brothers), N.P.Pradeep (Free Agent), Climax Lawrence (Dempo SC), Clifford Miranda (Dempo SC), Renedy Singh (Free Agent), Mehrajuddin Wadoo (East Bengal), Baldeep Singh (JCT)

Strikers: Bhaichung Bhutia (East Bengal), Sunil Chhetri (Sporting Kansas City), Abhishek Yadav (Free Agent) & Sushil Kumar Singh (East Bengal)

India open their Asian Cup campaign against the top ranked team in Asia, Australia, on 10th January before facing West Asian outfit Bahrain on the 14th. Their final group match is against two-time winners South Korea on 18th January.

Meanwhile, due to the untimely resignation of Pradip Chowdhary as the team Manager, Raul Carmo Fernandes has been appointed as the Manager of the Indian team for Qatar 2011.

Raul Fernandes has been working with the national team on various operational fronts for the last couple of years and more specifically in the last two months during the camp in Dubai, where India played three international friendly matches losing all three and conceding 16 goals.

Subrata Dutta, Vice President of the AIFF, will also be accompanying the team as the chef de mission. Larsing L Sawayan remains the Head of the Delegation.

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