Stimac: Happiest coach in the world after draw against Syria

After the 1-1 draw against Syria in the Intercontinental Cup, Indian football team coach Igor Stimac said his players need time to adapt to his methods.

Igor Stimac said he was proud of how his players played against Syria.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

India football team coach Igor Stimac said he was not appointed to nurture the players in the country but asked for more time to reap success with his style of football.

"I read some comments that the coach should be nurturing these players. As I see football, that's absolutely wrong. When you give orders to players, they follow. Nurturing is for academy football. This is not academy football and I am not an academy coach," Stimac said on Tuesday, after India held on to a 1-1 draw against Syria in the Intercontinental Cup.

Commenting on the performance, he said, "We will analyse our mistakes again and learn from them. We made some mistakes today when we were pushed down. We need to be strong. I am proud of them. I am the happiest coach in the world today after the two defeats [against Tajikistan and North Korea] and receiving criticism.

He added, "We have shown we have great talents, that we need to push them out on the pitch. I need to stick with them. Never mind how bad they play. If we don't give them time they won't get better."

Stimac, who was appointed in May, has led the team to a win and a draw in five matches in the King's Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. Eighteen-year-old Narender Gahlot's maiden goal earned Stimac his first draw with the side.

"I was not brought here to give just few wins and losses and be nowhere in the middle of somewhere. It's easy to play against certain teams below the range and get the wins. But to feel better as a team it takes time, courage and passion. I warned the nation... this way we choose to play we will need a lot of sacrifice and suffering. That is how these young talented kids will grow," he said.

Speaking on the progress the players have made, he said "I try to teach them bit by bit. I can't put too many things at one time. I did that before the second game [against Korea] and they lost it completely. I had to do it because we don't have much time. These were three games we had before [World Cup 2022] qualifiers... maybe one more. I don't have more time for friendlies. I need to find 15-20 players who are going to fight for India."