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  Sports   Football  04 Mar 2017  Aizawl players omission from nat’l camp a mystery

Aizawl players omission from nat’l camp a mystery

Published : Mar 4, 2017, 1:45 am IST
Updated : Mar 4, 2017, 2:04 am IST

In contrast Rane has featured in every match and has played a stellar role in all the seven victories of Aizawl FC so far.

(Representational image)
 (Representational image)

A low budget team, Aizawl FC could become Indian football’s Leices-ter City if they maintain their current momentum. The doubting Jonahs had predicted that Leicester City would stumble towards the end of the 2015-16 Premiership but they won in style.

Similarly Aizawl FC have proved experts wrong and are challenging big money spenders Kingfisher East Bengal and Mohun Bagan for the coveted 10th Hero I-League title. With just seven rounds to go Aizawl FC are second with 23 points from 11 matches, just a point behind leaders East Bengal.

Aizawl FC’s unexpected winning streak is a tribute to newly appointed coach Khalid Jamil’s tactical skills  and the flair of their players. However, the bigger surprise is that national coach Stephen Constantine has not chosen a single player from Aizawl FC among the 31 probables for the Asian Cup qualifying match against Myanmar on March 28.

When Constantine took over in 2015 he repeatedly said that he would select players on current form and not reputation. His squads for the World Cup qualifiers in 2015 reflected this philosophy. Players like wing backs Rino Anto and Saumik Dey, midfielders Cavin Lobo and Francis Fernandez were then chosen on the basis of their club form.

However for the 2017 Asian Cup qualifiers Constantine has neglected his original philosophy. On current form, wily roving midfielder Jayesh Rane, plucky goalkeeper Albino Gomes, gutsy utility players Ashutosh Mehta and wing backs Lalruatthara and Lalram Chullova deserved to be among the probables.

Instead Constantine has chosen several players who are either recovering from injury or have not found a regular place in their I-League club teams.  For instance both first choice central defenders Arnab Mondal and Sandesh Jhingan are making a comeback from injury.

Mondal has just figured in two out of the 11 matches that East Bengal have played so far. Similarly Jhingan has featured in only six of Bengaluru’s 10 matches.

If Mondal and Jhingan do not get match fit within three weeks, India could struggle against Myanmar as Anas Edathodika is the only inform central defender.

It is also surprising why Constantine has chosen five left backs as probables, especially as two of them have barely played for their clubs. Fulganco Cardoza is injured and played just four matches for Churchill Brothers and Nishu Kumar only two for Bengaluru FC.

Pritam Kotal (Mohun Bagan) is the only regular right back among the 31 probables. Ashutosh of Aizawl could also have been considered for this position.

It is a mystery how Mohammed Rafique (East Bengal) and the inconsistent Setiyasen Singh (DSK) have been chosen ahead of in-form midfielder Jayesh Rane. East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan has selected Rafique for only two matches in the I-League so far. Setiyasen Singh (DSK) has played just five I-League matches.

In contrast Rane has featured in every match and has played a stellar role in all the seven victories of Aizawl FC so far.

Constantine deserves credit for selecting some promising newcomers like left backs Subashish Bose (Mohun Bagan) and Jerry Lalrinzuala (DSK), midfielders Milan Singh (DSK) and Issac Vanlalsawma (Shillong Lajong), and striker Daniel Lalhim-puia(Bengaluru FC) but the omission of Aizawl FC players remains a mystery.

Tags: aizawl fc, leicester city, i-league