Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi has been named in India’s national men’s football team squad for the Asian Games.
The list of players was released yesterday, though the All India Football Federation (AIFF) listed him only as “Samuel James”, which meant that his name slipped under the radar.
India has had difficulty in putting together its strongest squad as the Indian Super League (ISL) is set to begin two days after the country’s first match of the Games and clubs have been reluctant to release their best players. Football in the Asian Games is not part of the FIFA internal window and clubs don’t have to release players.
The silver lining for Meghalaya fans is that this has opened up the way for Samuel’s name to be included in the list; he was not included in the original 22-member squad released on August 1. In fact, only nine players in the 17 announced yesterday (one more was added late last night) were part of the original 22 and, while more might be added, the AIFF does not expect to fill the allowed squad limit of 22.
Samuel was signed by ISL team Punjab FC earlier this year after five seasons in the I-League (two with Shillong Lajong FC and three with Real Kashmir FC).
If he does get an international cap, the midfielder will be one of only a handful from Meghalaya to have represented India in football.
The young Indian outfit only features one player over the age of 24 – veteran Sunil Chhetri. It also only has two out of the usual complement of three goalkeepers.
India have been grouped with China, Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Asian Games. India start against China on September 19, play Bangladesh on September 21 and Myanmar on September 24. Two teams from each of the six groups and four best third teams will qualify for the round of 16. Twice champions India have not progressed from the group stage since 2010 and did not participate in the 2018 Games.