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Bhutia not among WC qualifier probables

Last updated on: June 02, 2011 19:36 IST

Ace striker Bhaichung Bhutia was omitted from the 42 probables named by the AIFF for a training camp, starting in Delhi from June 25, for India's World Cup football qualifier against the UAE in July.

With Dempo coach Armando Colaco taking charge of the team after Englishman Bob Houghton's sacking, the AIFF dropped as many as 13 senior players who were part of the 23-member squad for the Asian Cup in Qatar early this year.

Most of the youngsters, who were part of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifying tournament in Malaysia, were named in the probables' list.

Besides Bhutia, who played in the I-League second division for United Sikkim, other senior players dropped are defenders Surkumar Singh, Anwar Ali, Deepak Mondal and N S Manju, midfielders Renedy Singh, N P Pradeep and Mehrajuddin Wadoo and strikers Abhishek Yadav and Mohammed Rafi.

Armando Colaco, newly-appointed coach of the Indian football teamFormer India No 1 goalkeeper Sandip Nandy found himself among the campers at the age of 36, along with current top goalie Subrata Paul.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who was taken to Qatar in the Asian Cup as third goalkeeper, was left out while his Indian Arrows team-mate Jagroop Singh made the cut.

Dempo goalkeeper and India reserve Subhashish Roy Chowdhury was also omitted.

Veteran Dempo defenders Mahesh Gawli and Sameer Naik made it to the probables' list.

The likes of young Indian Arrows skipper Raju Gaikwad and another Dempo defender Debabrata Roy also made it to the list.

India's Asian Cup captain Climax Lawrence and his Dempo teammate Clifford Miranda found place among the probables while East Bengal's Mehtab Hossain and Salgaocar's Gilbert Oliviera were named among the midfielders.

Young Indian Arrows players Jewel Raja, Khagembam Jibon Singh, Shilton D'Silva and Lalrindika Ralte, who were in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round campaign, were also in the list, just like HAL's Xavier Vijay Kumar.

Striker Sunil Chhetri, who led India in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round, has company in Jeje Lalpekhlua, Joaquim Abranches, CS Sabeeth, Anil Kumar and Sushil Kumar Singh.

Churchill Brothers goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya and Dempo and India winger Anthony Pereira will also be a part of the camp as part of their ongoing rehabilitation process.

Out of 42 named, many will be doing national duty for the Olympic Qualifiers against Qatar on June 19 and 23 and will join after that.

Coach Colaco reasoned that he had to consider the performance of the I-League players in choosing the probables and the doors are not shut "forever" on the seniors.

"I have full respect for the seniors and am aware of their contribution for Indian football. Obviously, it was a very difficult decision for me. I relied on present form and building a team for the future.

"Players who have played well in the I-League have been preferred over others. Hence, some big names had to be left out. If we are to look at the future, we need to concentrate on youngsters who performed well in AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur," said Colaco.

"I never said the senior players will not be selected again. The list of 42 probables is for a specific time period with a specific plan. Anyone who performs well after that can easily walk into the national team. Doors on the seniors haven't been shut for ever," he said, adding that his focus would be to play possession football.

India are slated to play UAE (away-match) on July 23 and then in Delhi on July 28.

The probables:

Goalkeepers: Subrata Pal, Jagroop Singh, Sandip Nandy, Karanjit Singh, Laxmikant Kattimani.

Defenders: Gourmangi Singh, Denzel Franco, Robert Lalthlamuana, Rowilson Rodrigues, Thokchom Naoba Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Raju Eknath Gaikwad, Valleriano Rebello, Debabrata Roy, Sameer Naik, Mahesh Gawli, Mohanraj, Rakesh Masih.

Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Syed Rahim Nabi, Harmanjot Khabra, Steven Dias, Jewel Raja, Khagembam Jibon Singh, Shilton D'Silva, Lalrindika Ralte, Gilbert Oliviera, Francis Fernandes, Anthony Barbosa, Rocus Lamare, Baldeep Singh, Khangembam Singh, Peter Carvalho, Climax Lawrence, Clifford Miranda, Xavier Vijay Kumar.

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Joaquim Abranches, CS Sabeeth, Anil Kumar, Sushil Kumar Singh.

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