Shillong, Sep 14: Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi has been named in the Indian men’s football team squad for the Asian Games, the first time he has featured in a senior national team.

The list of players was released yesterday, though the All India Football Federation named him as “Samuel James” only, which meant that his inclusion slipped under TSR’s radar.

India has had difficulty in putting together its strongest squad as the Indian Super League is set to begin two days after the country’s first match of the Games and clubs have been reluctant to release their best players. Football in the Asian Games is not part of the FIFA internal window and clubs thus don’t have to release their players for it.

The silver lining for Meghalaya fans is that this has opened up the way for Samuel’s name to be included in the list; he was not included in the original 22-member squad released on 1st August. In fact, only nine players in the 17 announced yesterday (one more was added late last night) were part of the original 22 and, while more might be added, the AIFF doesn’t expect to fill the allowed squad limit of 22.

Samuel was signed by ISL team Punjab FC earlier this year after five successful seasons in the I-League (two with Shillong Lajong FC and three more recently with Real Kashmir FC). Those efforts then saw him picked by new ISL entrants Punjab.

The young Indian national squad only features one player over the age of 24 – veteran Sunil Chhetri. It also only has two out of the usual complement of three goalkeepers.

India have been grouped with China, Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Asian Games. India start against China on 19th September, Bangladesh on 21st September and Myanmar on 24th September. Two teams from each of the six groups and four best third teams will qualify for the round of 16. Twice champions India have not progressed from the group stage since 2010 and did not participate in the 2018 Games.

India’s squad: Gurmeet Singh (Hyderabad FC), Dheeraj Singh (FC Goa); Sumit Rathi (Mohun Bagan), Nardender Gahlot (Odisha FC), Amarjit Singh Kiyam (Punjab FC), Samuel James Lyngdoh Kynshi (Punjab FC), Rahul KP (Kerala Blasters), Abdul Rabeeh Anjukandan (Hyderabad FC), Ayush Chhetri (FC Goa), Bryce Miranda (Kerala Blasters), Azfar Noorani (Gokulam Kerala), Rahim Ali (Chennaiyin FC), Vincy Barreto (Chennaiyin FC), Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC), Rohit Danu (Bengaluru FC), Gurkirat Singh (Mumbai City), Aniket Jadhav (Odisha FC), Deepak Tangri (Mohun Bagan)

(TSR file photo)

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