India U23: Anwar Ali determined to break into the senior team

Anwar Ali has been a star in the making right from his India U16 days. The lanky central defender has taken a step further in achieveing his dream of playing for the Indian senior national team with his maiden call-up to the India U23 side which prepares for the upcoming AFC U23 Championship qualifiers.


"The Indian [national] team is developing. There has been a lot of progress and I will keep working hard in order to deserve a place in the senior team," Anwar told Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) after visiting the facilities in the country.


The Punjab-born has clocked up more than 3000 minutes with the All Indian Football Federation's (AIFF) developmental side Indian Arrows over two seasons in the I-League, on-loan from parent club Mumbai City FC who feature in the Indian Super League (ISL).


Having played in all three group games of the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup, Anwar was a vital cog in the team which is till date India's only participation in a World Cup across all age groups.


The 18-year-old who has been part of various foreign exposure tours throughout his age-group career feels more of such tricould help India push for a World Cup berth in the future.



Sarthak Golui, Anwar Ali, Amarjit Singh


"The more exposure, the better for us. It gives us a lot of experience by playing bigger teams. Should it continue, it can also lead us into the World Cup one day, sooner rather than later," he opined.


The India U23 team had travelled to Doha to face their Qatari counterparts in preparation for their qualifying campaign which gets underway in Uzbekistan on 22 March.


Despite suffering a 1-0 defeat, Anwar said the Indian team took a lot of positives back home. "We have gained a good experience by playing against Qatar. Both teams did well although it is the result that matters in the end. We will try our best next time."


The defender was also impressed by the infrastructure the Arab nation had developed for the 2022 World Cup. "We have seen the kind of stadiums and infrastructure that they have here. It is fantastic.


"As Qatar is hosting the World Cup, there is a lot more happening in terms of training grounds and for teams to play friendlies - especially for teams from Asia," he concluded.