After beating Kuwait away from home, India's dream of qualifying for the 3rd round of World Cup Qualifiers are looking very likely. But, for that, beating Afghanistan home and away will be a massive task for the blue tigers. India, traditionally a better side than Afghanistan, but recently, Afghanistan has introduced few neutralised players, who are going to make it very difficult for India to ease past the lions of Khorasan!

Over the years, many Mohun Bagan players have donned the prestigious Indian jersey, and this time it's no exception as 8 members of the current Mohun Bagan squad are set to join Igor Stimac's Senior Indian National Team camp.

Vishal Kaith :

Bagan's Superman Vishal Kaith is in sublime touch this time. After Senor Habas took over Mohun Bagan, Vishal Kaith has only gotten better, keeping 4 clean sheets in his last 8 games at the club. Vishal's best game came in the recently concluded Kolkata Derby, where, Kaith performed superbly, saved a Penalty and earned crucial 3 points for the Mariners. In the AFC Asian Cup, Indian Football legend Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had a hard time, and many fans were vocal on giving Kaith his long due chance. This time, the possibility seems real, as the most in form GK of the league is set to be included in Igor Stimac's squad, and after witnessing the Kaith masterclass from the stands in the Derby, many will be surprised if Vishal doesn't get a start.

Anwar Ali :

Team India's defence missed a cool and calm presence at the back in the AFC Asian Cup, and after Sandesh Jhingan's injury, it was about time Anwar Ali comes back to the team. Anwar had his own injury concern, and recently, after coming back from a quite long injury, it was expected that Anwar will slowly adjust to the pace of Indian Super League, and that has been the case this season so far. Anwar was in superb touch before getting injured in the BSDK game in the AFC Cup, and after coming back, Anwar is getting back to his old form slowly. But, Form is temporary, Class is permanent, and nobody can deny Anwar is the classiest amongst the current Indian defenders. Igor Stimac will have to field an unfamiliar backline against the Afghans, as Sandesh will not be there, but Anwar should be the first name in the team sheet for the Croatian coach.

Subhasish Bose :

Mohun Bagan's captaincy is the most prestigious thing if you are an Indian, and playing football professionally in this country. Subhasish Bose has been given that honour this season, and it looks like, he is enjoying the captaincy. After Habas's inclusion, Bose has transformed himself into an No Nonsense yet very good ball playing defender, occupying the left side of Habas's three man defence.

If you get a chance to see Captain Bose's pocket after Senor Habas came in, you will see Players like Noah Sadaoui, Roy Krishna, Cleiton Silva, Mahesh still struggling there.

With Sandesh missing out, Bose offers great flexibility to Igor where he can slot into a CB pairing with Anwar, or, as usual, he can be a beast and prove once again why he is considered the best Left back of this country. With the form he is in right now, benching him would be a stackable offence for the Indian Coach.

Deepak Tangri :

Once Brazilian Footballer Fred famously said "I carry the piano for the team to play"; and, we believe, it's the perfect way to describe Deepak. He was doubted heavily (after coming back from a long injury) when he got his first National team start against Australia, but he proved everyone wrong, and had a impressive display for the blue tigers. Since then, the Don Tangri has not looked back. He is playing the football of this life under Senor Habas, as he got a Viking Joni Kauko by his side. When needed, he is creating chaos in the Midfield, and winning crucial headers in the both end, helping the team to win battles in the middle of the park. 

Tangri might get a start, if Coach wants to solidify the defence. Also, Tangri is versatile player, who can also help the team in defence. 

Anirudh Thapa :

Over the past few seasons, Thapa has been one of my consistent players playing in this country. When he signed for Mohun Bagan, we were certain, Mohun Bagan is getting a future captain. But, things hasn't worked out yet for the Midfield maestro in a Mohun Bagan shirt. Kolkata Football and playing for Mohun Bagan is a different game altogether, and with age and experience on his side, we are pretty certain, Thapa will eventually turn out to be a massive signing for the green and Maroon brigade, but, in current form the new manager is preferring different players in the starting XI, over him (though he is getting his regular gametime, from the bench). In this situations, sometimes, all you need is a change in the environment, and Thapa certainly got that opportunity as he got his chance in the national team. The talented Midfielder can use this break well and, if given a chance, Thapa will have to grab it with both hands, and, we are pretty certain, he will; 

And we all know, inform Thapa is just different gravy. With the ISL business end approaching, Habas will surely want Thapa to get back to his best, and Afghanistan game can be that game changer for Thapa.

Sahal Abdul Samad :

When Sahal signed for the Mariners, many marked it as a gimmick; but, once he settled down in Kolkata, he never looked back. Currently it looks like Sahal and Mohun Bagan are a match made in heaven and the Prime version of Sahal is finally getting unlocked slowly. Hugo is arguably one of the best attacking midfielders to grace the Indian football circuit; but, when your coach sacrifice that player to accommodate you in the starting lineup, there is not a bigger statement than this. Sahal has been the most hard working and consistent Midfielder in this current Mohun Bagan team and he is the source of creativity in the Mohun Bagan Midfield too, sharing the duty with Jony Kauko and Dimitrios Petratos. 

Sahal has been a regular starter this season for Bagan and India, and, Stimac certainly missed him in the AFC Asian Cup. But, now, Sahal is back again, and Stimac will surely start him.

Manvir Singh :

Workhorse: There is no better word in the English dictionary to describe the 'Sher of Mohun Bagan'. Manvir Singh has worked really hard whenever he got a chance under Habas, and, after becoming a Right wing back under Juan, Manvir has added 'workrate' to his locker and the current version of Manvir can keep running down the wings, for 90 minutes straight and can pop up with a goal or assist out of nowhere. Currently India won only one game in the World Cup qualifier, and Manvir scored the all important goal in that game against Kuwait.

Igor Stimac will have to think twice before benching Manvir, but, to manage his workload and keep him fresh, Stimac has to manage him properly. But, nonetheless, he is set to have a big task in the Indian team to win 6 points against the Afghans.

Liston Colaco :

Right Place, Right Time; that has been the case for Liston under Senor Habas. Occupying the left wing, Liston has created trouble for all the ISL sides after the restart, and, currently he is in supreme touch. In the Kolkata Derby, Liston scored one goal and won one penalty; against Blasters, Liston was available for just 10' and, he delivered again, as his ball found Cummings in the box and the Aussie didn't miss the chance to win the game for the Mariners! And the coach Stimac surely has his eyes set on the flying Goanese.

Not only the senior team, but also the India U23 Squad are all set to travel to Kuala Lumpur to play two friendlies against the Malaysian U23 team. Where Mohun Bagan boys Arsh Anwar Shaikh and Abhishek Suryawanshi are amongst the probables.

Arsh Anwar Shaikh :

Arsh enjoyed a iffy season so far for the senior team, where chances were hard to come by. He played brilliantly in the CFL & AFC Cup. He also started in Kalinga Super Cup but wasn't so impressive against Emami East Bengal in that competition, although Arsh was comparatively good in the first two matches. Since that defeat in the Kalinga Super Cup, he hasn't started a game, and, he currently serves as the number 2 in the squad under Kaith. In RFDL, Zahid is having a good season and Arsh is currently not getting enough game time. Very highly rated in the domestic circuit, Arsh can travel to Malaysia with the squad, but, it looks like Emami East Bengal's Prabh Sukhan might get the start ahead of him.

Abhishek Suryawanshi :

Recently turned 23, Abhishek has already established himself as a key player in Mohun Bagan's senior team. His calm composed attitude and a great football brain made him a starter ahead of some established senior team players. With the likes of highly rated young Midfielders, Vibin and Aimen, Abhishek should also be a automatic starter in the squad.

The Team India Senior Team Squad for the FIFA WC Qualifier matches against Afghanistan : 

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Mehtab Singh, Rahul Bheke, Nikhil Chandrashekhar Poojary, Subhasish Bose, Anwar Ali, Amey Ganesh Ranawade, Jay Gupta.

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Deepak Tangri, Lalengmawia Ralte, Imran Khan.

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Vikram Partap Singh.

List of 26 probables for India U23 men's team camp:

Goalkeepers: Arsh Anwer Shaikh, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Vishal Yadav.

Defenders: Bikash Yumnam, Chingambam Shivaldo Singh, Hormipam Ruivah, Narender, Robin Yadav, Sandip Mandi.

Midfielders: Abhishek Suryavanshi, Brison Fernandes, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohammed Aimen, Phijam Sanathoi Meetei, Thoiba Singh Moirangthem, Vibin Mohanan.

Forwards: Abdul Rabeeh, Gurkirat Singh, Irfan Yadwad, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Khumanthem Ninthoinganba Meetei, Mohammed Sanan, Parthib Sundar Gogoi, Samir Murmu, Sivasakthi Narayanan, Vishnu Puthiya Valappill.

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