After a strong performance in the domestic league, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has found his name in the 30-member Indian team for the training camp to prepare for the Incheon Asian Games. So have Sandesh Jhingan and Deepak Devrani, also from Chandigarh.
The 20-day camp, to be held under the watchful eyes of national coach Kim Koevermans, will kick off from July 1 in Bangalore. The squad, comprising mostly U-23 players, have three senior players in Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh and Francis Fernandes.
Gurpreet has been a consistent performer under the bar for East Bengal, helping the team finish as runner-up in the I-League last season. The 6 feet, 5 inch tall keeper had landed a week-long training-cum-trials stint at Wigan Athletic, the English Premier League club, two years ago.
“Gurpreet has been a consistent performer and he has emerged as one of the top keepers in the country in the last two-three years. He will be a regular member in the playing XI in the next few years,” said Surinder Singh, coach at St Stephen’s Football Academy, where Gurpreet started his young fledgling career.
Gurpreet had made his debut for the senior national team in a 1-1 draw against Turkmenistan at the AFC Asian Cup held in Qatar in 2011.
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Sandesh, 20, who currently plies his trade for Mumbai FC, has become a favourite of coach Koeversmans’s in the last few months and has been called for the national camp on a few occasions. The defender, who was a student of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, has been dubbed one of the brightest talents in the country by the chief national coach.
Deepak Devrani has also earned a place in the team on the basis of his performance in the I-League. Deepak started his career with Gurpreet, and soon made it to the India U-16 team. As he peaked, he found success at U-19 level too. The 21-year-old defender currently plays for Sporting Goa in I-League. The Indian team will play two friendlies against Pakistan in Bangalore in August as part of the build-up for the Asian Games, which will be held in September.