A new team will start against Belarus: India’s head coach Stimac

This is the first time India will be playing Belarus and will look to avoid another loss in its run-up for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in June this year.

India coach Igor Stimac stated that the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Anwar Ali will start against Belarus.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

There will be a ‘new team’ playing against Belarus, India’s head coach Igor Stimac told the media before the second friendly match in Bahrain in its preparation for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, starting in Kolkata from June 8.

“A new team is coming up against Belarus -- fresh energy of course with those in the middle who did not start in the first game and will now be available who will give us more stability in passing,” Stimac said.

“You will see (Ruivah) Hormipam, you will see Anwar Ali, there will be Roshan (Naorem Roshan Singh) on the pitch also. This time I have more options in the midfield, with Brandon (Brandon Fernandes) and Thapa (Anirudh Thapa) joining us. Jeakson (Jeakson Singh) might also be available for a more creative game. That's what we are looking for,” he added.

Stimac lamented the shortcomings of the previous match that saw India lose to Bahrain 1-2 with the host scoring a late goal.

“The thing I'm most unhappy about is not stopping the crosses coming into the box and conceding two goals at the far post is something unacceptable.”

Strategy for next match against Belarus

The Indian team will go out to take more risks playing from the back, according to Stimac. “We will try to start building up from the back. That is something I've been insisting on from the beginning of our job here,” he said.

“It's difficult to change the mentality and attitude, but it needs to be done only by trying, and friendly games are the best opportunities to do so."

"We need to take the risk, intend to play from the back and try to find those creative players who can damage the opponent.”

He underlined that the team will play attacking football and will reserve set-piece tactics for the decisive matches.

Belarus one step better than Bahrain

“We have made a good analysis of Belarus. They are one step better than Bahrain, technically and with movements,” Stimac said.

“Mostly they defend and play counter-attacking football, but that should not be the case against us because technically they're very good, physically they're strong. They play aggressive football, they don't give you time and space to play possession football,” he added.

This is the first time India will be playing Belarus, and the Blue Tigers have just one win in its last five matches, which came against Bangladesh in June 2021.

Belarus, on the other hand, has a similar record of wins, coming into this fixture after a 1-0 win over Jordan in November last year.

We have got a young squad”

The head coach was all praises for the young faces in the squad, namely Naorem Roshan Singh and Rahim Ali.

Roshan shone on his senior debut against Bahrain. The Bengaluru FC full-back replaced Liston Colaco at half-time and assisted Rahul Bheke with a clinical cross for India's equaliser early in the second half.

“I'm especially happy about young Roshan, who proved that ISL performances from this season were not a one off scenario for him and that he can do it at the international level as well, which is very good,” Stimac said.

“We gave him an opportunity to show his quality more upfront where he can be more creative and that's exactly what he did.” 

He added that Roshan’s extra energy and timings for tackles pleased him the most and also praised Rahim for his physical presence in the final third.

“I want to point out the tremendous work of Rahim Ali, who proved once again that we are right when we see him as one of the most prolific strikers for India in the future,” Stimac said.

“We have got a young squad, which is getting younger every day.”

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