JOHOR BARU: Defending champions India have made six changes to the team that won the Junior Asia Cup in August. But they remain confident that they can offer a credible challenge to the 2023 Sultan of Johor Cup. India coach C.R. Kumar said that the six were left out of the team to rehab and injuries. “We have a big squad and have decided to bring in some of the fringe players to gauge their abilities. The other six have had enough experience and thus need this break before we name the final team for the Junior World Cup,” he said. Goalkeeper Ranvijay Singh is a new addition replacing Himwaan Sihag. He will be the assistant to the main goalkeeper S.H. Mohit. Mohit was named the best goalkeeper at the recent Junior Asia Cup.

Another notable absentee is goal scorer Araijit Singh Hundial, India’s top scorer with eight goals at the Junior Asia Cup. The other five new players are Sunil Jojo, Sukhvinder, Abdul Ahad, Gurjot Singh, and Sathis B. In the Junior Asia Cup final, the Indians took top honours with a 2-1 win over Pakistan. The event was held in Chennai, India, in August. India is a three-time winner of the Sultan of Johor Cup and will be vying for a fourth title. Kumar added that their main aim here is to gain experience and to test their tactics against the other top Junior World Cup teams.

“With several changes to the team that played in the Junior Asia Cup, we want to ensure that the best players are ready for our World Cup challenge. “This tournament offers an excellent platform to test ourselves against good opposition,” he said. India heads Group B in the SOJC 23 and will have for company Malaysia, New Zealand, and Pakistan. The Indians will arrive in Johor Baru on Oct 25.

Team India
H.S. Mohit, Ranvijay Singh Yadav, Amandeep Lakra, Rohit, Sunil Jojo, Sukhvinder, Amir Ali, Yogember Rawat, Vishnukant Singh, Poovanna C B, Rajinder Singh, Amandeep, Sunit Lakra, Abdul Ahad, Uttam Singh, Arun Sahani, Aditya Lalage, Angad Bir Singh, Gurjot Singh, Sathis B