Young Indian goalkeeping sensation Dheeraj Singh earned his maiden national team call up on Wednesday as the Indian squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman. Having made a name for himself during the 2017 U17 World Cup, Dheeraj has been drafted into the national team as the third-choice goalkeeper behind Bengaluru FC’s Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Mumbai City FC’s Amrinder Singh.
The 19-year-old custodian, who made a permanent move to ATK FC from Kerala Blasters a couple of months back, had impressed in the Indian Super League (ISL) last season. Before that, Dheeraj featured for Indian Arrows in the I-League and even underwent a brief training stint with Scottish Premiership side Motherwell FC. However, he is yet to feature for the Kolkata-based franchise this season.
While Sandesh Jhingan is still sidelined, Pronay Halder has been called back after successfully recovering from injury. Seiminlen Doungel and Farukh Choudhary have also been included by Igor Stimac following their impressive performances in the ISL.
There were a few baffling omissions, however, with the likes of Michael Soosairaj, Redeem Tlang missing out despite performing well for their respective clubs.
Here is India’s 26-member squad:
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Anas Edathodika, Narender Gahlot, Adil Khan, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary