Five Players of Minerva Football Club, Chandigarh — Kamaljit Singh, Kamalpreet Singh, Vinit Rai, Girik Khosla and Germanpreet Singh — have been selected in the 34-member Indian U-23 team for the AFC qualifiers to be held in Doha, Qatar, in July this year. The players were selected in the team after selection trials in Mumbai last week. They will attend a training camp in New Delhi under national coach Stephen Constantine from June 17 to July 1, followed by an exposure trip to the USA before the Asia Cup qualifiers in Doha from July 15.
“The selection means a lot for me. I have played earlier in AFC Cup twice. This opportunity will help us play against some of the Asia’s top teams. I also played in last year’s South Asian Games where we claimed the silver medal. Tournaments like these boost our confidence. Playing in the I-League for Minerva FC in their first season in the tournament also meant a lot and it tested my talent against some of the best Indian footballers,” said 20-year-old Germanpreet Singh, who hails from Pero Shah village near Gurdaspur, Punjab, and shifted to Minerva FC last year.
Minerva FC finished at the second spot in the I League second division last year and made their debut in the 2017 I League.
The Chandigarh team, which was playing without any sponsor in the tournament, finished at the ninth spot with 13 points. The team registered two wins and seven draws during the tournament and finished one spot ahead of Mumbai FC in the points table. Kamalpreet managed the defence for the team in the tournament and plays on the right wing while Girik Khosla plays a striker for the team.
Two other players, who earlier played for Minerva FC, Sukhdev Patil and Manvir Singh, have also been included in the Indian team.
“Kamalpreet Singh has shown his strength as a defender for the team this season and Germanpreet Singh has also the experience of playing for Dempo FC and Indian teams earlier. It will also be good for players like Vinit Rai and Girik Khosla. Spending time under national coach Stephen Constantine will only help their game. All of them are promising players and if selected in the final team, they can give their best in the AFC Cup qualifiers,” said Surinder Singh, coach of Minerva FC.