Senior India coach Armando Colaco ultimately put experience over raw talent. The 30 probables picked for the World Cup qualifier against UAE on July 23 and 28 from the national camp threw up a few surprises but retained a host of names from January's Asian Cup campaign.
"I'm sad that I had to let some of these boys go from the camp. They're very talented but I had to make a choice so I picked the experienced ones, the ones who had earlier played in the Asian Cup," said Colaco.With regard to defender Naoba Singh and striker Anil Kumar being kept as standbys, the coach said: "I feel really bad about Naoba because I had specifically asked for him. But both have not been able to come into the groove."
Asked who would be captain, the 58-year-old coach said: "I will be sitting down with the federation to discuss and decide that. The most experienced player will probably head the side," adding that the idea of rotating a skipper too has not been written-off entirely.
Colaco has preferred the 4-1-4-1 formation, understandably, to bolster the back-four but in turn possibly lowering scoring opportunities by playing one striker.
"We were experimenting. 4-4-2 was Plan A, this is Plan B. If it doesn't work, we'll have a Plan C in place. Slowing down the pace, especially in midfield, will be crucial against UAE," he said.
The squad will leave for Male to play a friendly with the Maldives on July10, on Wednesday. A friendly against Qatar will be played on July 17 in Doha.
On the issue of three players - Rocus Lamare, Gilbert Oliviera and Khelemba Singh - missing out because they don't have proper travel documents, national team director Subhankar Mukherjee said the AIFF "expected" that they would have passports.
He disputed that the AIFF should shoulder responsibility for the players' mistake.