Stimac lauds Indian Arrows and U-17 World Cup after AFC Qualifier success

India finished its campaign having bagged 4 points with one win against Oman (2-1) and a draw against the Kyrgyz Republic (0-0), only two points behind group leaders UAE.

Stimac's India still stands a slim chance to qualify for the finals, with only the four-best second-placed team from 10 groups eligible to through.

As India registered its best ever finish in the AFC under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers on Saturday, head coach Igor Stimac lauded Indian Arrows project and hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India in 2017 for developing a "new generation of players".

Earlier, Indian midfielder Deepak Tangri had also attributed the team's success to the Indian Arrows project.

India finished its campaign having bagged 4 points with one win against Oman (2-1) and a draw against the Kyrgyz Republic (0-0), only two points behind group leaders UAE.

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The Croat also eulogised goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, whose performance between the sticks has been phenomenal in the tournament, conceding two goals, one of which was from the spot, in three matches along with saves in the shootout being the icing on the cake.

"Saving those two penalties in the shootout was something extraordinary," Stimac said.

"He's already been with the senior team for a while. He's already competed in the AFC Champions League last season and he was magnificent there."

"He's a fantastic stop-stopper at the penalty shootouts. We believed he could come up with a few saves there."

India still stands a slim chance to qualify for the finals, with only the four-best second-placed team from 10 groups eligible to through. India sits in the ninth spot at the moment.

"We still have hopes to qualify for the finals. The boys absolutely deserve it. Everyone in India sees that we have a bright future ahead," Stimac added.

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