India Recall Ali, Singh for FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

India Recall Ali, Singh for FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

India’s FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign has received a boost with the return of key players Anwar Ali and Jeakson Singh. The duo, who missed the recent Asian Cup due to injuries, have been named among 35 probables for the upcoming matches against Afghanistan.

Ali, a central defender, has been out of action for an extended period due to an ankle injury. He also suffered a minor setback in an ISL match last month. Singh, a defensive midfielder, underwent left shoulder surgery in November. Both players have since returned to action for their respective Indian Super League teams.

The inclusion of Ali and Singh strengthens India’s defense, which has been a concern in recent matches. Ali’s experience and leadership will be crucial, while Singh’s ball-winning abilities will provide stability in midfield.

However, India will be without key winger Ashique Kuruniyan, who is still recovering from an ACL injury sustained last year. Kuruniyan’s absence is a blow to India’s attacking options, but the team will hope to compensate with the return of Ali and Singh.

India are aiming to reach the third round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the first time in their history. They are currently placed in Group A of the second round, alongside Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. The top two teams from the group will progress to the third round.

India have a chance to make history after beating Kuwait 1-0 in Kuwait City last year. Head coach Igor Stimac has promised to lead the country to its maiden third round of the FIFA World Cup qualification.

The probables for the Afghanistan matches are as follows:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Phurba Tempa Lachenpa, Vishal Kaith

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Lalchungnunga, Mehtab Singh, Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Nikhil Chandrashekhar Poojary, Subhasish Bose, Narender, Anwar Ali, Roshan Singh Naorem, Amey Ganesh Ranawade, Jay Gupta

Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Deepak Tangri, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Lalengmawia Ralte, Imran Khan

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Ishan Pandita, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Nandhakumar Sekar, Isak Vanlalruatfela