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Retired Anas returns after Stimac names him in preparatory camp

Sports Lounge Staff

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Anas Edathodika (left) retired after India's first round exit at the AFC Asian Cup.

New Delhi: New Indian football coach Igor Stimac has named central defender Anas Edathodika in his list of 35 probables for the Hero Intercontinental Cup’s preparatory camp, to be held in Mumbai from June 25.

Anas, who had announced his retirement from international football after India’s first round exit at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup has said to the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) website that he had “received a message from Coach Stimac”, after which he “contemplated coming out of international retirement.”

“Coach Stimac has shown his faith in me, and it’s my turn to repay him,” Anas said.

“Coach messaged me to join the upcoming camp. Honestly, I was taken aback. Later Venky-bhai (assistant coach Venkatesh Shanmugam) shared all details, and I just can’t wait to join the camp,” he stated.

“The respect I earned while playing for the national team is something which has pushed me to challenge myself again,” Anas added.

“At the moment, I’m just focussing on the camp, and not thinking about making the cut to the team at all. Whatever comes my way, I’ll accept it,” he admitted.

“I’m equally passionate, and focused like I was a year back. I’m ready to push myself more. Every coach has a different philosophy, and see the game differently. We had some great results before, and now all the boys whom I have spoken to, have lauded coach Stimac heavily.”

The other first-timers in the camp (under Coach Stimac) include defenders Sarthak Golui, and Narender Gehlot, and midfielders Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan and Nikhil Poojary.

The Intercontinental Cup will be Stimac’s second assignment since taking over as India’s head coach. India finished third in the recent King’s Cup, where the Stimac-mentored India defeated hosts Thailand.

The Hero Intercontinental Cup will be held at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad from July 7-19.

Defending champions India begin their campaign on the opening day against a strong Tajikistan on July 7, with DPR Korea, and Syria being the other two teams in the four-nation competition. Every team will be playing each other once, with the top two advancing to the final.

The probables list: GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith; DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Anwar Ali (Jr), Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Narender Gahlot; MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojary, Michael Soosairaj; FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jobby Justin, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.