Highly-rated Sikkimese footballer Komal Thatal has remained one of the major talking points of India's campaign in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. The winger played just one match, against the United States of America (USA) and was made to warm the bench in the other two.
Nevertheless, his performances in the first match itself won him a lot of fans. Luis Norton de Matos ignored the player for the other two matches and as a result, attracted the ire of football fans.
Not being physical enough was cited as one of the reasons for his inability to play against the likes of Colombia and Ghana.
While the FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign may have ended for the India under 17 football team, the attention turns to the AFC U-19 Qualifiers, starting next month in Saudi Arabia. Komal, who was once reportedly closely followed by the Manchester United scouts, is not even in the squad for the upcoming tournament.
Comes as a major surprise and a major blow for all Indian football fans!
Surely, there are reasons more than one to read between the lines about this exclusion. Norton de Matos included certain members from India's U-17 World Cup campaign as well as the current India U-19 football team setup for the upcoming competition.
The 23-member squad has been announced on Wednesday evening:
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Nawaz, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill.
Defenders: Namgyal Bhutia, Sahil Panwar, Deepak Tangri, Ashish Rai, Boris Singh, Sanjeev Stalin, Anwar Ali, Jitendra Singh.
Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Princeton Rebello, Suresh Singh, Amarjit Singh, Rahul KP, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Nongdamba Naorem, Jeakson Singh.
Forwards: Edmund Lalrindika, Roshan Singh, Lalawmpuia, Rahim Ali.
On social media forum, fans are engulfed in debates over what could be the possible reasons for Komal's exclusion from the squad. While some have stated that the player seriously doesn't have a good physique, some are yet to be impressed with his defensive abilities.
Some are also even revealing that the exorbitant wage demands of Komal is putting him out of the national team setup.
While the real reason is yet to be out, follow this thread on Twitter:
I guess he needs to work on his physique! Too small to compete with elite athletes! Will b back with a bang for sure! pure Talent!! ⚽— Mandeep Bhatia (@mannydevil2508) October 25, 2017
Interestingly, the likes of Aniket Jadhav and Abhijit Sarkar, who played a key part in the FIFA World Cup, also have been omitted.