India’s preparations for the 2019 Intercontinental Cup are on it’s way as the Blue Tigers get ready to defend the crown they won last year in Mumbai. That picture has drastically been altered for the upcoming 2019 edition which will be an all Asian affair with the likes of Syria, Tajikistan and DPR Korea set to tussle it out with India unlike last time where teams from across continents took part in the competition.
After a not so overwhelming start under the Croat gaffer Igor Stimać in Thailand, the ‘Blue Tigers’ will be looking to bounce back on their homesoil against tough opponents.
Here we have picked five such players from the Indian football team who can play a crucial role in the Intercontinental Cup.
● Sunil Chhetri:
Literally called as India’s ‘Captain, leader, legend’, Sunil Chhetri will be someone worth to keep an eye on. The Bengaluru FC man had a good season in ISL and wants his form to be continued in the Intercontinental Cup. He is third in the list of current leading goal scorers in International football and there will be no wonder he will surpass Lionel Messi in this tournament. India is facing heavyweights like Syria, DPR Korea and Tajikistan will also be a tough test for the Indian lads and they will need to give their very best to overcome these opponents. If Sunil Chhetri hits the scoring chart in the first match, it will be tough for the other teams to stop India’s all time highest scorer in the tournament.
● Kamaljit Singh:
Compared to other keepers Kamaljit stands younger and less experienced. The FC Pune City goalie has developed in the recent ISL season and his stats helped him gain a spot in the 23 member squad. In the previously concluded ISL season he made an astonishing 59 saves for his team and was considered as one of the breakthrough players of the season. He is a product of AIFF academy and was a defender in his initial days but soon he learned how to be a professional goal keeper and made his name in ISL. This 23 year old 6 feet tall goal keeper has the potential to deliver if given a chance.
● Anirudh Thapa :
This Chennaiyin FC midfielder is a gem to watch. Due to his flawless performance in the midfield and capability passing the ball to either side of the field has made him such a wonderful young central midfiekder. He makes passing look effortless, can take corner kicks with accurate aim and has learnt free kick mastery too. He can play in all positions in the midfield depending upon the situation his manager and team needs. Though he did not have a good time with his franchise last season, all players have tough times in their career so does Anirudh Thapa. But this player will be crucial to Stimać’s plan in this competition.
● Sandesh Jhingan :
The defensive wall of the Indian team Sandesh Jhingan wants his team to give 100% on the field. The Punjabi defender will have to guide his team in the field. Reports claim that he will be the captain of the side in the forthcoming season. Along with Adil Khan or former partner Anas, he will be a fearful presence for the opponent teams. Under the coaching of Igor Stimac he was well settled in the team and wants his players to play for their country and wants fans too fill up the stands to watch their home country’s matches.
● Soosairaj Michael :
The man from Tamil Nadu has made significant impact in the Indian football circuit by his impressive performances in past couple of seasons. Starting from the bottom playing for Chennai City FC in 2017-2018 season where his team struggled for survival, he was the player to help his cause to overcome a final day thriller against Minerva and made his team to play for another season in I-League where they ultimately went on to become champions. Soon he got transferred to Jamshedpur FC where he was mostly used in the left-wing by Cesar Ferrando which is not considered his natural position but still had an influential season and also won appreciation from Australian legend Tim Cahill. The ATK player got selected for the King’s Cup and had decent performances for his team. He will be a treat to watch in the upcoming competition.