New Delhi:Injuries continued to grapple Indian football team in their Nehru Cup title defence as after NS Manju, now another defender Anwar Ali, who is suffering from a bruised thigh, is doubtful for the hosts' all-important next clash against Kyrgyzstan on Saturday.
While Manju has been ruled out for the entire tournament with a hairline fracture, Anwar is a doubtful starter for the next match.
"The coach will appropriately decide on it (replacements). There is Deepak Mondal and Mahesh Gawli who are as good as them," mid-fielder Renedy Singh said at the team's practice session here.
Manju sustained the injury in the second session of the match last night and was replaced by Mahesh Gawli in the 57th minute.
"X-ray examination showed his left toe has been fractured and his left foot is now on heavy bandage. He won't able to take field for at least four weeks," a team source said. The injury will also mean that Mohun Bagan will miss Manju's services for the August 28-September 10 IFA Shield in Kolkata.
The left-back's injury is also bad news for India, which is coping with the disappointing loss against Lebanon. The other left-back, Sameer Naik, had a hamstring problem just a few days ago and Gawli, who normally plays in central defence, replaced Manju yesterday.
Meanwhile, coach Bob Houghton refused to divulge the names of the replacements and said he will take a decision only at the appropriate time.
He, however, sounded confident about Anwar and expressed optimism that the defender would be fit for the must-win game. "Right now, I can't say anything about both the players. N S Manju is suffering from hairline injury and would be replaced by a suitable substitute," Houghton said.
The entire playing eleven from yesterday's match, except Mehrajuddin Wadoo, skipped today's optional practice session at the DPS RK Puram school here.
Team manager Pradeep Chowdhury said Manju's absence will be a big setback to the team.
"Manju will be out for six weeks with the hairline fracture and I am very disappointed," he said.