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Indian squad for World Cup Qualifier games against Afghanistan

India will face Afghanistan in the away tie at Saudi Arabia on March 22. Check out India's 25-member squad for the World Cup Qualifier.

Moinak Banerjee
Last updated: 15.03.2024
india vs afghanistan world cup qualifiers 2026

Head coach Igor Stimac named the 25-member squad of the Indian Senior Men’s National Team for the games against Afghanistan in Round 2 of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualification on Friday, March 15, 2024. The Blue Tigers will be travelling to Saudi Arabia for the away tie on March 22 before returning to India for the home match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on March 26, 2024. The squad has been stripped down from the initial 35-probable list.


India are currently placed third in Group A of the qualifiers, level on points with Kuwait with three but trailing them on goal difference, after two matches. Asian Champions Qatar leads the group with six points while Afghanistan are rock bottom without acquiring any points so far. The Blue Tigers began their campaign with a solid 1-0 win over Kuwait in the away match last November but then suffered a 3-0 defeat to Qatar to lose their unbeaten streak at home.


India’s 25-member squad for World Cup Qualifier vs Afghanistan

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC), Amrinder Singh (Odisha FC), Vishal Kaith (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)

Defenders: Akash Mishra (Mumbai City), Mehtab Singh (Mumbai City), Rahul Bheke (Mumbai City), Nikhil Poojary (Bengaluru FC), Subhasish Bose (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Anwar Ali (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Amey Ranawade (Odisha FC), Jay Gupta (FC Goa)

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Brandon Fernandes  (FC Goa), Liston Colaco  (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Mahesh Singh Naorem (East Bengal FC), Sahal Abdul Samad (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Suresh Singh Wangjam (Bengaluru FC), Jeakson Singh (Kerala Blasters), Deepak Tangri (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Apuia (Mumbai City), Imran Khan (Jamshedpur FC)

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC), Lallianzuala Chhangte (Mumbai City), Manvir Singh (Mohun Bagan Super Giant), Vikram Partap Singh (Mumbai City)


Head Coach: Igor Stimac


The welcome boost for the team is Anwar Ali and Jeakson Singh returning to the squad after injuries kept them out of the AFC Asian Cup hosted in Qatar in January this year. Winger Ashique Kurniyanan though remains out of contention as he continues his recovery from ACL suffered during national duties in September last year. There have been new inclusions in the squad with Amey Ranawade, Jay Gupta and Imran Khan all poised to make their debut for the national team. However, players like Puitea and Nandha Kumar have been left out while Isak Vanlalruatfela has been selected for the U-23 Indian football team going to Malaysia for friendlies.


India vs Afghanistan World Cup qualifiers 2026 schedule

Friday, 22 March 2024

Afghanistan vs India - Damac Stadium, Saudi Arabia (00:30)


Tuesday, 26 March 2024 

India vs Afghanistan - Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati (19:00)    

After the worst campaign by an Indian team in the Asian Cup where they finished last with no points earned and not a single goal scored, the focus for the side now turns to the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with their aim to reach the third round for the first time in history. In doing so, India will qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 hosted by Saudi Arabia where they travel for the first of the two games against Afghanistan next. The Blue Tigers have to finish in the top two to go to the next round with the big possibility of finishing second. The two ties this month will be crucial in this regard as three points from both games will set them well for the home clash against Kuwait in Kolkata on June 6, 2024.

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