Indian Football: 5 Youngsters who could make their debut under new coach Igor Stimac
After months of rumours and speculation, the AIFF Executive Committee has appointed Igor Stimac as the new head coach of the Indian Men's national football team and the U-23 Men's team.
The Technical Committee was highly impressed by his vision to lead India and recommended his name last Thursday. The Executive Committee didn't string any surprises and finalized the Croatian.
What gave Igor Stimac a headstart over the other competitors were his in-depth research on Indian football. He claimed to have watched a lot of ISL and I-League matches keenly and brought a list of 36 players who impressed him.
Now, the question remains whether that list included any youngster. The Indian national team is undergoing a phase of transition, making it a wonderful opportunity for some youngsters to make their impact.
Here are 5 youngsters who could make their debut under new coach Igor Stimac.
#5 Gaurav Bora
A product of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in New Delhi, Gaurav Bora became the first Assamese player to lift the I-League trophy after his two headers in the second half against Minerva Punjab made all the difference in an action-packed match.
Originally a defensive midfielder, Bora shifted to the central defender position this season under the tutelage of Akbar Nawas and forged a solid partnership with Roberto Eslava. While Chennai City FC's defence wasn't the most miserly, the duo helped the team play out from the back.
Bora's calm demeanor even when pressed hard allowed the I-League champions to play a free-flowing brand of football right from the back. That contributed to a total of 48 goals in the league, not bettered by any team in the past six seasons.
Eslava's injury in the dying stages of the campaign meant that the Spaniard had to miss out on the Super Cup. Bora led the all-Indian defense in the knockout tourney against the ISL sides and ensured they reached the semi-finals.
There are very few defenders in the country who can play from the back and Gaurav Bora is one of them. If Stimac wants to inculcate that style of play in the team, he should look to no further than Gaurav Bora.