When national coach Wim Koevermans announced the Indian football team to face Tajikistan in a friendly on August 14, the one notable name missing was that of reigning AIFF Player of the Year Syed Rahim Nabi.
The player, however, remained upbeat about his future and was looking forward to flying out for a trial with MLS team DC United. “The trial with DC United has been confirmed. I will leave for the US on September 15, right after the SAFF Cup,” he told TNIE from IMG-Reliance’s camp in Mumbai.
Reports had initially emerged that AIFF Team Director Shubankar Mukherjee had stated that Nabi was not fit. AIFF later issued a release saying that Mukherjee had been misquoted. But Nabi denied any such issues and said he was in good condition. “I have been training under Trevor Morgan and have had no issues with fitness. I am in good shape.”
Nabi declined to comment further on his omission from the national team. “I will work hard and hope to run out in the national jersey at the SAFF Championships.”
The Indian squad leaves for Tajikistan on August 9 and will return on August 16. Tajikistan are ranked 106th in FIFA rankings while India are at 146th.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, S Nandy, S Roychowdhury; Defenders: D Franco, N Chettri, A Mondal, Gouramangi Singh, R Gaikwad, G Kumar; Midfielders: M Hossain, L Ralte, A Izumi, LRodriguez, Jewel Raja, F Fernandes, S Malsawmtluanga, Clifford Miranda; Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Dawson Fernandes.