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Venkatesh, Alvito dropped for Saudi match

August 31, 2006 20:11 IST

Stalwarts like former skipper S Venkatesh, forward Alvito D'Cunha and defender Mahesh Gawli found themselves out of the squad for India's next AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia at Jeddah on September 6.

Venkatesh had a forgettable outing in the first meeting between the two sides, in Kolkata on August 16, which the visitors won 3-0.

Alvito did not measure up to coach Bob Houghton's high fitness demands while Gawli was omitted as he was nursing an injury.

Striker Sushil Kumar Singh, who was in the list of 27 probables for the forthcoming match and excelled at the Vancouver Whitecaps Nations Cup in Canada and the South Asian Games in Colombo, also did not find a place in the final 20.

Syed Rahim Nabi, who missed the Kolkata encounter, returned to the team along with Salgaocar midfielder Mickey Fernandes.

The players are presently in Goa attending a preparatory camp after which they will take on the traditional Asian powerhouse.

India have lost all their three games in AFC qualifying campaign so far and have only a remote chance of making it to the Asian Cup, to be held in Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam next year.

After the Jeddah match, for which the team leaves on September 3, India take on Asian champions Japan in Bangalore and Yemen at Sana'a.

The matches will be used to test the players ahead of the Doha Asian Games and the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Sandip Nandy (Mahindra United), Subrata Paul (Mohun Bagan), Subhasis Roy Chaudhary (Mahindra United)

Defenders: Surukumar Singh (Mahindra United), N S Manju (Mahindra United), Deepak Mondal (Mohun Bagan), Samir Naik (Dempo SC), Anupam Sarkar (East Bengal), Narinder Singh (JCT),

N P Pradeep (Mahindra United), Sanjiv Maria (Mohun Bagan)

Midfielders: Steven Dias (Mahindra United), Mehrajuddin Wadoo (Mohun Bagan), Manjit Singh (Bengal), P Renedy Singh (JCT), Micky Fernandes (Salgaocar SC)

Forwards: S Rahim Nabi (East Bengal), Freddy Mascarenhas (East Bengal), Sunil Chhetri (JCT), Baichung Bhutia (captain - Mohun Bagan)

Officials: Bob Houghton (Chief coach), Mauricio Milagres Affonso (Assistant coach), Antonio Marcos Pacheco (goalkeeping coach), Dr Manbendra Bhattacharya (Team doctor), Tapan Bhattacharya (physiotherapist), Pradeep Choudhury (manager).

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