India Call-up Due to AFC Champions League Showing: Glan Martins

FC Goa midfielder Glan Martins has credited his maiden inclusion in the 28-member probables’ list for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Doha to his performance in the AFC Champions League (ACL) group stage matches held in Goa recently.

Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa had drawn three games — against Qatar’s Al Rayyan and UAE’s Al Wahda — and lost two of the other three games by narrow margins, thanks to goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh’s saves and Martins’ gritty play.

“The AFC Champions League has given me the confidence to perform at the highest level. We have played among the best teams in Asia, so it will help me a lot in the national team,” said the 26-year-old Goa player.

“I was giving my best every time I got on the pitch. It didn’t matter whether it was in training or match. I have put in a lot of hard work all these years and got a call-up. Now it’s time to prove myself at the highest level,” Martins told the Times of India before leaving for Doha on Wednesday.

India are scheduled to play Qatar on June 3, Bangladesh on June 7, and Afghanistan on June 15 with all three matches to be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha. Among the 28 named for the camp, Martins remains the only player to have made it to a national team camp for the first-time ever.

Praising Martins, FC Goa director of football, Ravi Puskur, said: “I’m sure Glan will add an extra layer of steel to the midfield if given the opportunity to go out there and perform. Brandon Fernandes and Glan Martins showed they were well capable of going toe-to-toe against some of the best players in Asian football and I’m sure they’ll be able to perform at a similar level for the national team as well.”

As many as five players from FC Goa have made it to the 28-member list — Brandon Fernandes, Adil Khan, Ishan Pandita and Dheeraj Singh being the other four.

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