Stimac to stay on, told by AIFF to focus on June World Cup qualifiers

Igor Stimac will continue in the role of the head coach for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Kuwait and Qatar.

Published : Apr 04, 2024 14:33 IST , CHENNAI - 2 MINS READ

Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac.
Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac. | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac. | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Under-fire Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac will continue in the job for the FIFA World Cup second round qualifiers against Kuwait and Qatar and has been asked by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to focus on the upcoming two matches.

India, which slipped to 121 in the latest FIFA rankings, gained just a solitary point in their two meetings with Afghanistan in March, which increased further scrutiny on Stimac’s position. The Blue Tigers is winless in six matches and has scored just a goal in these games.

The Indian supporters at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati made their feelings known with their ‘Stimac Out!’ chants directed at the Croatian.

In a meeting with the AIFF, Stimac was asked to explain his comments before the Afghanistan home game, where he had said that he would resign if India failed to qualify for the round three of the qualifiers.

Stimac said, “A year ago, I said that we would try and qualify for Round 3 and currently we are second in the group and two teams qualify. We will discuss this issue further after the match against Kuwait on June 6, 2024.

“The game against Kuwait on June 6 will be one of the biggest days in Indian football, as a win will immensely brighten our chances to qualify for Round 3 for the first time. The staff and the players are all aware of this historic moment that awaits us, and we will do everything in our capacity to win,” Stimac told the meeting.

READ | Indian football’s favourite villain Stimac fast running out of credit

“Fruitful discussions were had with the AIFF committee members. I appreciate everyone’s concern and hope we will join together to create history in June.”

AIFF chairperson Financial Committee Anilkumar Prabhakaran and AIFF Executive Committee member Menla Ethenpa told the coach to just focus on the games ahead and plan his preparation accordingly.

IM Vijayan, who is a member of the Executive Committee and the chairman of the Technical Committee, said, “I am happy that we had a good discussion with the head coach. In the World Cup qualifiers, we have two matches in hand with a chance to make Round 3 for the first time in history. It is time we focussed on the next two matches and stayed solidly behind the National Team so that they could do their best.”  

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