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Chhetri to lead India in AFC Challenge Cup

 NEW DELHI, March 5 (PTI): AIFF Player of the Year, Sunil Chhetri will lead India in the AFC Challenge Cup to be held in Kathmandu from March 8.

Defender Syed Rahim Nabi will serve as Chhetri’s deputy during the tournament.

After decisions were taken in the team meeting today, India coach Savio Medeira expressed confidence on the choice, saying both Sunil and Nabi are quality players.

“Both Sunil and Nabi are quality players. They have earned the respect of everyone by their team play and leadership qualities.

“Sunil did a good job last December at the SAFF Championship, where he led from the front. Sunil has matured a lot. Nabi has been one of the consistent performers for India in the recent times and has an experience to captain at the club level,” said the coach.

Chhetri felt privileged and honoured to have been given the job.

“It’s a matter of pride and great responsibility to lead the country in such an important tournament. I feel privileged for such an honour. I would try my best to win the title and qualify for the Asian Cup,” said Sunil.

India, clubbed with North Korea, Philippines and Tajikistan in Group B, will face Tajikistan in their first match on March 9. Group A consists of hosts Nepal, Maldives, Palestine and Turkmenistan.

The winner of the tournament will earn a ticket to 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

The team: Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Subhasish Roychowdhury, Arindam Bhattacharya; Defenders: Nirmal Chhetri, Raju Gaikwad, Sameer Naik, Gourmangi Singh, Anwar Ali, Kinsukh Debnath, Syed Rahim Nabi (Vice Capt), Gurjinder Singh; Midfielders: Adil Khan, Anthony Pereira, Reisangmi Vashum, Rocus Lamare, Francis Fernandes, Jewel Raja, Lenny Rodrigues, Lalrindika Ralte; Forwards: Sunil Chhetri (Capt), Sushil Singh, CS Sabeeth, Joaquim Abranches.

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