Indian Football

Asian Cup qualifiers: 3 players who will be key for India

Arjun Singh Devgan
Sunil Chhetri remains India's most important player
Sunil Chhetri remains India's most important player / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

India are set to start their 2023 Asian Cup final round qualifying campaign on June 8 when they face Cambodia at the Salt Lake Stadium, with the Blue Tigers going into the set of fixtures as the favourites to top their group.

Here, we take a look at three key players for India - who will be key for them in the final round of the qualifiers.

1. Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri
India v Bahrain - AFC Asian Cup Group A / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Sunil Chhetri is India's talisman and most important player and there is no doubt that the hopes of the nation rests on his shoulders, considering that they depend on his goalscoring exploits to a large extent.
The 37-year-old who is India's all-time record goalscorer with 80 goals from 126 appearances has just returned from injury and Igor Stimac will hope that Chhetri can get back up to speed as they depend on him to score the goals up front.

2. Liston Colaco

Liston Colaco has emerged as one of India's best players over the past year
Liston Colaco has emerged as one of India's best players over the past year / ISL

Liston Colaco has arguably been the best player for Igor Stimac this season, with the striker impressing for both club and country as seen by the eight goals he scored for ATK Mohun Bagan in the 2021/22 Indian Super League (ISL).

The 23-year-old can end the attacking woes for the Blue Tigers as the Goan adds the needed agility and pace to the team, hurling continuous attacks, and testing the opponents' goalkeeper.

3. Sahal Abdul Samad

FBL-WC-2022-QUALIFIER-QAT-IND / -/GettyImages

Sahal Abdul Samad has been hailed as the next "superstar" in India and the midfielder comes into the final round of qualifiers with a lot of expectations placed on him.

The 25-year-old is a prolific goal-scoring attacking midfielder who is absolutely unstoppable with the ball between his feet. Samad had a nervy start but went on to become Kerala Blaster's most important scorer, finding the net when needed the most.