Former Croatian legend Igor Stimac, who has been appointed as the head coach of the Indian football team, spoke about his new role and the future of Indian football under his reign.
Stimac, who was accompanied by the team’s new technical director Doru Isac at a press conference, shared that he feels at home in India and the team has the potential to achieve any target if they dedicate themselves to the cause.
“It feels like I am already here for five years. I have read so much about Indian football. I watched almost all the matches of last season including the Indian Super League,” he said.
The 51-year-old, who guided Croatia to qualify for the World Cup 2014 and was part of the Croatian squad that finished third in the World Cup 1998, seemed content with the current players at his disposal and thanked India’s previous manager for his services.
“Our players are in good condition. I am satisfied with the situation. Also, I see many young talented players. Some of them didn’t get a chance previously. I will give youngsters a chance to prove themselves. I appreciate Stephen Constantine. He has done tremendous work,” said Stimac.
When asked about his equation with Indian football captain and national idol Sunil Chhetri, he said, “I speak every day with Sunil. He is valuable for the team. I expect him to be a role model as the youngsters look up to him. But he will start from zero… he has to prove his worth to be in the team.”
Competing in the World Cup seems to be a distant dream for the Indian team which is currently ranked 101 in the world. While the fans have gotten accustomed to the bitter truth, Stimac shared his reason for accepting the position as well as the possibilities of qualifying for the World Cup.
“I chose to manage India because India is the sleeping giant of football. When the team competes, I want to see tigers and lions together on the pitch. We are allowed to dream about the World Cup. Good things won’t happen over time. With hard work and a little bit of luck, we can achieve anything,” said Stimac who has assisted Arsene Wenger in the past.
The first challenge for the newly appointed duo will be the upcoming King’s Cup. The Blue Tigers will take on Curacao in Buriram, Thailand on June 5. Isac gave a few insights before the event on the team’s composition as well as strengths and weaknesses.
“We will be synchronized. When we attack, we will think about defence and vice-versa. We need to build a national game model,” said Isac.
Stimac further added, “We need to work on defensive positions. All good results start from good defending.”
(Featured Image: Twitter/Indian Football Team)
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Studied at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. Lives and breathes Football, the beautiful game.