New Delhi: Key midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi and goalkeeper Subrata Paul were on Monday left out of a 20-member Indian football squad announced for the away international friendly match against Tajikistan to be played on August 14.
Nabi, who reported for the IMG-Reliance camp in Mumbai on August 2 for a pre-season camp for the IPL-style football tournament early next year, was the surprise omission from the squad.
Asked about Nabi's omission, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said he was not in a position to give reason.
"The national coach would tell the reason," he said.
AIFF Director of National Teams, Subhankar Mukherjee said Nabi was not fit.
"Nabi is not fit," Mukherjee said when asked if there was any specific reason for Nabi to be left out.
Paul's omission was not altogether unexpected as he had not been in the best of form in the past one year and he was replaced under the bar by veteran Sandip Nandy in India's last international friendly on February 6.
Other notable players left out include winger Anthony Pereira and young Alwyn George who played in the Palestine friendly.
National coach Wim Koevermans also brought back Robin Singh as the third striker in the squad along with captain Sunil Chhetri and uncapped Sporting Clube de Goa forward Dawson Fernandes.
Tajikistan are presently ranked 106th in the FIFA Rankings while India are at 146th. The international friendly will be played at Khujand.
The Indian squad leaves for Tajikistan from here on August 9. They will return here on August 16 and straightaway will proceed to Bangalore for a preparatory camp for the SAFF Championships which will be held in Kathmandu from August 1 to 11.
Another set of players will join the squad for the camp in Bangalore which would be announced later.
Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Sandip Nandy, Subhasish Roychowdhury.
Defenders: Denzil Franco, Nirmal Chettri, Arnab Mondal, Gouramangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Gurjinder Kumar.
Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Lalrindika Ralte, Arata Izumi, Lenny Rodriguez, Jewel Raja Shaikh, Francis Fernandes, Shylo Malsawmtluanga, Clifford Miranda.
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Dawson Fernandes.