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Depleted Indian team for SAFF tournament

January 08, 2003 17:56 IST

A 20-member Indian squad, led by Debjit Ghosh, left for Dhaka on Wednesday to take part in the SAFF football championship, beginnng on January 10.

The Indians, who clinched the title in the last two editions of the tournament, boarded a Bangladesh Biman flight from the NSC Bose International Airport in Kolkata after completing a week-long preparatory camp under the supervision of their Anglo-Cypriot chief coach Stephen Constantine.

The team was accompanied by six officials -- Constantine, N K Bhatia (leader of the delegation), Debojyoti Mukherjee (manager), Ananta Ghosh (assistant manager), Aloke Mukherjee (assistant coach) and Manabendra Bhattacharjee (doctor).

India, regarded as favourites for the title, have been clubbed along with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistanin in Group A for the 11-day tournament.

They kick-off their campaign with a match against Pakistan on January 10 before taking on Afghanistan on January 12 and Sri Lanka on January 14.

The semi-finals and final matches are scheduled for January 18 and 20 respectively.

India's tune-up for the tournament suffered severe jolts as several players including star striker Baichung Bhutia and defence mainstay Dipak Mondal had to be left out following injury.

Defender Mahesh Gawli, medio Tomba Singh, goalkeeper Sandip Nandy, Peter Siddique and forward R C Prakash were also not considered for selection after they sustained injuries.

Following is the 20-member squad:

Goalkeepers: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar (Mohun Bagan), Virender Singh (Punjab Police), Naseem Akhtar (Mahindra United).

Defenders: M Suresh (East Bengal), Debjit Ghosh (Mahindra United), Sameer Naik (Dempo), Roberto Fernandes (Salgaocar), Selwyn Fernandes (Vasco), Abhay Kumar (Salgaocar).

Midfielders: S Venkatesh, Subhash Chakrabarty (East Bengal), Renedy Singh (Mohun Bagan), Jo Paul Anchery (JCT), Harvinder Singh (JCT), Jules Alberto (Vasco), Lawrence Climax (Salgaocar).

Forwards: Alvito D'Cunha (East Bengal), I M Vijayan (JCT), Ashim Biswas (Tollygunge), Abhishek Yadav (Mahindra United).

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