Balwant Singh drops out of China vs India due to passport issues

first_imgIndia striker Balwant Singh will not feature for India in their friendly against China on Saturday as he had to drop out of the squad due to passport issues.India are playing China at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium as part of their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup in UAE, starting January 5. It is after a gap of eight years that India have qualified for the event.India are placed in Group A alongside UAE, Thailand and Bahrain and it is going to be a very tough outing for the Blue Tigers in away conditions.National team coach Stephen Constantine wants to make sure that India play tough matches ahead of the Asian Cup and that’s why he requested for tough friendlies but the Balwant situation has him frustrated.WATCH – India sweat it out at the JLN stadium Constantine said that Balwant has done really well under him for the last year and a half and Balwant was surely a part of his plans but he is now not available.”Balwant Singh had to drop out of the squad because his passport is not exactly six months, it’s five months and a week and that’s frustrating. Balwant has done really well in the last 18 months with me and he’s a player we value very well. Of course he would have had some game time but there you go,” Constantine said at the sidelines of a two-day preparatory camp in New Delhi.”You wake up in the morning and say this is your XI and then something happens today and it’s not the XI. May be we have a Balwant situation and ‘okay, may be he was going to be in the XI but now he’s not’, so it fluctuates. But I have an XI in my head but if I don’t have them all, we have enough players and for me, there’s always like if I have an opportunity to put a younger player, I will do that,” Constantine further told.advertisementConstantine recently took an under-23 squad to the SAFF Championship, where India fell just short of the title after losing to Maldives 2-1 in the final. However India had defeated Pakistan 3-1 in the semi-final, where Manvir Singh had scored a brace.”I took an U-23 side to the SAFF Cup and I don’t know too many people who would do that. And I did it for a specific reason because otherwise those players wouldn’t be here. They are in the training because I saw them against Maldives, I saw them against Pakistan, in the final, where there’s pressure. The Pakistan game was a huge game for these young boys and they did very well. You can only find out about a player when he is under pressure and this is what we try to do.”There’s 13 of them [U-23s] in there [in training]. Look, I believe in building for the future, this is what I came to do when I started and we’ve given 44 debuts in the last almost four years and more than 50 per cent of them have been U-23. So, it’s good for Indian football for the future and we hope that more youngsters are coming, original age by the way, into the leagues so that we can use these players. I don’t care how old they are, the only thing is how good they are,” Constantine explained. CONSTANTINE WANTS LONGER NATIONAL CAMP BEFORE MATCHESIndia are set to leave for China on Tuesday from New Delhi while the last ISL match took place on Sunday. Constantine had just two days of training in hand before travel to Suzhou and getting a bit of time there.Constantine said that he needs more time to prepare the national team before a big match from the next time as he is not able to execute all his plans under such time constraint.”Some of the players are training for the first time today (Tuesday), they guys who played day before yesterday. Of course that is a problem, you don’t have much time to really do what we need to do. Going forward, I know we have FIFA dates but we need more time. 2-3 days before we go to the game, it’s difficult.”For example, the guys who played on 7th, they arrived on 8th midday by lunch, they can’t train on the 8th. Today, there needs to be a little more tempo but it cannot be for them because they’ve played and otherwise we’ll get injuries, muscle tears and stuff like that. When we get guys from the clubs, they need at least two days to recover before we can put them in the grind but we don’t have that kind of time because in four days, we play. So that’s the difficulty.advertisement”As most of you know, when they come to the camps and we have time, we test their [fitness] levels. We can’t test their levels if they have played a day or two before. So, most of them have had two games in the ISL and they’ve been training with their teams, so hopefully that’s going to be okay,” Constantine expressed. ‘FRIENDLY OR NO FRIENDLY, YOU ARE PLAYING FOR INDIA’Stephen Constantine could not stress enough on the fact that the match between China and India is a friendly just for namesake. Constantine announced that he is going to go all out and expects China to be the same.He said he always stresses about his players to take the games seriously every time they wear the national jersey because they are “representing 1.4 billion people”.”You play for India, you always take it seriously, you’re representing 1.4 billion people. I can’t tell you the importance that I put on these games, friendly or no friendly, you are playing for India. It’s friendly only in words but these boys are going to want to go to the Asian Cup and you are going to have to play for that position. We are not going there to lose, we are going to try to win the game. Okay, it’s going to be very difficult but our objective is always when we step on the pitch, we try to win. If we don’t win then take positive out of the game and see what we can do better and take it from there.”China, obviously are a good side. They play some good football, they like to play possession football but they also like to press high so, it’s going to be difficult for us. But these are the game we have to play, we have to play under pressure. It will be a great indication of where we are, how far we have to go. Obviously this is a friendly game but we will go all out as I’m sure they will.”I want us to be fully aware of what’s going to face us in the Asian Cup, big stadium, big crowd. China are a big team in Asia and it’s going to be very very tough. It is in these games that we find out how good we are or how far we have to go.”The 22-member squad is as follows:GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Karanjit Singh.DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Sarthak Golui, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhasish Bose, Narayan Das.MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Halicharan Narzary, Ashique Kuruniyan.FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sumeet Passi, Farukh Choudhary.advertisementlast_img read more