Indian football team no longer loses easy games, says Stimac

Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac rued the missed opportunities in recent matches and said it will take time for the team to improve.

Igor Stimac

The Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac urged domestic teams to increase the number of local talents.   -  AIFF

Much like his predecessors, Indian football team’s head coach Igor Stimac has quickly realized no matter how effective the training inputs are meant to be, the National team consistently falters when it comes to scoring enough goals.

In an interview to news channel WION, the Croatian looked back at his stint that started in last May and said, “We have proved that we can change many things in such a short time. The task was not easy to change from a kick and chase football to a more possession based football.”

Reflecting on his expectations, Stimac said, "I am not happy with the results as we were expecting some more points from the Qualification Tournament. We didn’t take our opportunities. I thought we could surprise Oman but inexperience and lack of charismatic decisions cost us. India is no longer the team that loses easy games. But we are not scoring enough goals."

Striking a note of optimism, he said, “We have introduced many young players with more technical abilities. It was not easy and we knew, we were going to suffer. But this was the only way to stabilize the results in the future. We are building up a new team which should achieve its high level in the next 4-5 years. We have 25 players, between 18-23 years.”

READ: The decade in football: The birth of Indian Super League

Maintaining that Indian football season should be longer, Stimac said, "We cannot stop our season at the end of February. Football needs to be played until mid-May. I’m told it cannot happen as it overlaps with the broadcast of the Indian Premier League (IPL). But broadcast is not important. What’s important is players play more games to improve their football and bring more quality to the National team."

Stressing the need to reduce the number of foreign recruits in domestic teams, the coach said, ““I feel depressed and tired at repeatedly saying we have to reduce the number of foreign players in Indian domestic football. It will take time to grow up as a football nation. If the Government can change the citizenship regulations, we can get 7-8 players of Indian origin who are playing abroad and that would change our results dramatically”.

With the pandemic forcing a change of schedule, Stimac revealed, "We were to go on pre-season training camps to Turkey and Croatia in April and May, and play 10 friendly games. Now, we are using this time to improve the education of our players including theoretical points. I’m very happy the players are all following individual training plans we sent them."

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