New Delhi: The All India Football Federation on Tuesday officially appointed Savio Medeira as the national team coach, besides announcing a 27-member squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Malaysia.

Savio, a former Salgaocar coach and who has also been a longtime assistant to Bob Houghton, will be at the helm of affairs till his contract expires in May 2012.

His first important assignment will be the matches against Malaysia, scheduled to be held in Guwahati and Kolkata on November 13 and 16 respectively.

"Savio has been entrusted with this opportunity considering he has already spent three and a half years with the national team and has a lot of experience in handling the national team," said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.

Savio, on his part, knew the challenge that awaits the team in the coming days.

"In this kind of situation when there is not enough time for the team to prepare, it's tough challenge, which I have taken and would hope that the players would give their best and rise to the occasion," the Goan said.

"It's a very big honour to lead a country but at the same time it is a huge responsibility and a new challenge ahead of me and I am looking forward to it," he added.

The post was lying vacant after interim coach Armando Colaco rejected the AIFF's offer to extend his contract by one year.

AIFF had tried to rope in Salgaocar's present coach Karim Bencherifa for the top post but he too refused citing club commitments.

Squad:

Defenders:
Raju Eknath Gaikwad, Jaspal, Sameer Naik, Mahesh Gawli, Debabrata Roy, Anwar Ali, Syed Rahim Nabi, Gouramangi Singh.

Goalkeepers: Guirpreeth Singh Sandhu, Karanjit Singh, Subhashish Roy Chaudhari.

Midfeilders:  Mehtab Hossain, Baldeep Singh, Rocus Lamhare, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Francis Fernandes, Climax Lawrence, Anthony Periera, Clifford Reyes Miranda, Jewel Shaik Raja, Steven Benedict Dias, Lalrindika Ralte.

Forwards: Baljit Singh Sahni, Je Je, Sushil Singh, Joaquim Abranches, Sunil Chettri.

(Agencies)