Pune, Feb 18 (PTI) The Indian football team''s preparatorycamp for the pre-Olympic qualifier against Myanmar gotunderway at the National Defence Academy (NDA) ground heretoday.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has selected atotal of 24 players for the camp from which the final 18 willhandpicked after the conclusion of the camp on February 22.
India is scheduled to play Myanmar on February 23 in thefirst leg of the qualifiers at the Balewadi Sports Complexhere while the return leg match of round one will be played atYangon, Myanmar on March 9.
Interestingly, 19 players of the Indian side currentlyundergoing training at the camp are from the I-League sideIndian Arrows. The other five -- Nirmal Chhetri, Robin Singh(East Bengal), Arindam Bhattacharya (Churchill Brothers), NMohanraj (Mohun Bagan) and CS Sabeeth (Viva Kerala) -- arefrom other clubs.
On day one, 23 players reported for the camp barringdefender Mohanraj, who is expected to join the camp on Sunday.
The team will be under the supervision of coach DesmondBulpin.
The Myanmar team is expected to arrive in Pune onFebruary 21. The visitors will practice at the BharatiVidyapeeth Education Complex ground in Dhankawadi.
India is one of the 35 countries from the Asian FootballConfederation (AFC), who have entered this qualificationprocess for three allocated spots for the 2012 Summer Olympicsin London.
The qualifiers will commence from next month and run upto March 2012.
It is for the first time that Pune will play host to aFIFA pre-Olympics qualifying encounter. The qualifier will bethe fourth international fixture to be hosted by the city.
Earlier, Pune hosted the Indian senior team for threeinternational friendlies against Hong Kong, Vietnam and Yemanin October last year as part of their Asian Cup 2011preparation.
The players shortlisted are:
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu,Jagroop Singh.
Defenders: Abhisek Das, R Vishal Kumar, Raju Gaekawad,Nirmal Chhetri, Inderpreet Singh, Deepak Devrani, LalrozamaFenai, Mohanraj.
Midfielders: Subodh Kumar, Lalrindika Ralte, Jibon Singh,Shilton D''Silva, Jewel Raja Sheikh, Ongnam Milan Singh.
Strikers: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Malsawmfela, Robin Singh, CSSabeeth, Jagtar Singh, Bikramjit Singh and Manandeeep Singh.