Indian Football team’s coach Stephen Constantine announced the final 23-member squad for AFC Asian Cup 2019, which will kick off from January 5 in UAE.  This will be the third appearance for the Blue Tigers in the Asian Cup, which is played every four years.

“It was very important to keep on the continuity. It will be silly of me to completely change the way we do things. Most of these boys are with us for some time now,” the coach said.

“The other five boys (from the earlier list of 28) will also stay with us until January 2, 2019. In case of an injury or anything else happens, these five boys will need to step up. We are looking forward to the massive tournament. We hope these 23 boys will do a good job for us,” he added.

The blue tigers were once the runners-up in the Asian Cup. Yes! They played the final of 1964 edition, which was their first appearance. Next, they featured in 2011.

Out of 10 Asian Cup matches, they have won only two, lost seven and played a draw. Moreover, they fell short in qualifying in 2015 and after a long wait, Sunil Chhetri-led India will finally feature in the tournament.

Chhetri & Co. have brought about a  revolution in Indian Football by winning the Intercontinental Cup earlier this year and will look to make their mark in UAE.

Following are the 23-member squad for the upcoming prestigious tournament:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith, Amrinder Singh

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Sarthak Golui, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhashish Bose, Narayan Das

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Germanpreet Singh, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Rowllin Borges, Ashique Kuruniyan, Halicharan Narzary

Forwards: Sumeet Passi, Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua

India have been drawn in Group A along with hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain. The Blue Tigers will play their first match against Thailand on January 6, followed by a face-off with UAE and Bahrain on January 10 and January 14 respectively.

(with ANI inputs)