Coach Stimac calls Anas out of retirement
New Delhi: Indian football head coach Igor Stimac has called defender Anas Edathodika out of his retirement to be included among 35 probables for next month’s Intercontinental Cup in a clear move to address the team’s woes in central defence.
In the recent King’s Cup match against Curacao in Thailand, the Indian central defence messed up to concede three goals in the space of 18 minutes in the first half to lose the match 1-3, with Rahul Bheke being the main culprit.
Bheke was drafted in to pair with Sandesh Jhingan at the heart of the defence after the retirement of Anas, who had partnered with Jhingan earlier for two years.
The 35 probables will assemble at the Mumbai Football Arena from June 25 for the Intercontinental Cup preparatory camp.
The 32-year-old Anas, who announced his retirement from international football after the AFC Asian Cup in January, said he received a message from coach Stimac, after which he decided to come out of international retirement.
“Coach Stimac has shown
faith in me, and it’s my turn to repay him. The 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,” Anas, who has played for Indian Super League sides Delhi Dynamos, Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters, said.
“The respect I earned while playing for the National Team is something which has pushed me to challenge myself again,” he was quoted as saying by the official website of the All India Football Federation.
The 35 probables will be pruned down further, most likely to 23, but Anas said he does not care whether he makes it to the final India team for the Intercontinental Cup or not. —PTI