Newly appointed India coach Stimac gets support from Croatia

Igor Stimac was made India national football team's coach on May 15, four months after Stephen Constantine had resigned

Igor Stimac managed Croatia national football team in 15 matches between July 2012 and October 2013   -  SCOTT HEPPELL

The appointment of Igor Stimac, who was part of the Croatia team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup, has generated a buzz around Indian football.

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Igor replaces Stephen Constantine, who had resigned after India’s lukewarm performance at the Asian Cup in January. The former central defender’s team-mates and a few current Croatia internationals have congratulated Stimac on his new assignment, wishing him well for the future.

Current Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, who led the country to a runner-up finish at the 2018 FIFA World cup, greeted Stimac and said: “Igor, good luck, all the best to you and your national team India.”

 

Former Croatian captain and current FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban said: “I would like to congratulate the Indian FA for appointing and choosing Igor Stimac as the national team coach. I know Igor from my childhood and he is an experienced football person committed to his new job. I really hope that you (India football team) will achieve good things together. I’m looking forward to seeing your good results with Igor.” Boban was the captain of the 1998 World Cup team.

 

Darijo Srna – the most-capped Croatian player – worked closely with Stimac when he coached the national side between 2012-13. The former Croatia captain expects Stimac to do well in India and said: “I’ve had the honour to work with him (Igor) for a year. He is a big professional and I believe he will take India to another level. From today you (India) will have lots of supporters in Croatia.”

Croatian defender Dejan Lovren, who is set to play in the Champions League final for Liverpool against Tottenham, said: “Igor, I heard some great news and I’m really proud of you because I know who you are and how hard you have been working. I just wanted to say hello to your new team India, I want to wish you a lot of luck and I definitely want to see you at the World Cup. I had great pleasure in working with you and I’m looking forward to meeting all of you (Igor and his team).”

 

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who was handed a Croatia debut by Stimac, said: “I just want to wish you and your national team of India ‘All the best’. I had the pleasure of working with Igor who is great person and coach and now you (India) have this pleasure, so enjoy it! I send you regards from Croatia and I hope Igor and India are successful.”