SAFF Championship: Igor Stimac recalls Udanta, Jeakson but no place for Akash
Midfielders Udanta Singh and Jeakson Singh have been recalled to Indian national football for the forthcoming SAFF Championship which kicks off in the Maldives from October 1.National coach Igor Stimac named 23 players for the championship which India have won seven times.Both Udanta and Jeakson were missing in the squad for the two international friendlies against Nepal played in Kathmandu early this month but Akash Mishra who played the first was dropped. India won the second friendly 1-0 while the first was a one-all drawn match.The final of the five-nation SAFF championship is slated for October 16.The players and the support staff will assemble in Bengaluru on Monday and will fly out to the Maldives on Tuesday. Stimac, and other members of the technical staff will join the squad directly in Maldives on the same day.Besides India – Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and hosts Maldives are the other teams in the tournament. Each team plays each other once with the top two teams qualifying for the final.“We are all looking forward to the SAFF Championship as the leading football country in this part of Asia. These 4-5 games are extremely crucial for us as we won’t have any other chance of getting together before the start of 3rd round AFC Asian Cup qualifiers next season. So these matches should help us to improve a few points in our game,” Stimac told the-aiff.com.India have won the SAFF Championship (formerly SAARC Cup) seven times – 1993 in Lahore, 1997 in Kathmandu, 1999 in Margao, 2005 in Karachi, 2009 (U23 squad) in Dhaka, 2011 in New Delhi), 2015-16 in Thiruvananthapuram.India begin their campaign against Bangladesh on October 4.October 4: Bangladesh vs India (IST 4.30pm).October 7: India vs Sri Lanka (IST 4.30pm).October 10: Nepal vs India (IST 8.30pm).October 13: India vs Maldives (IST 8.30pm).GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.FORWARDS: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.