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Indian Football: What Players have to say about Igor Stimac, his selection and Playing Style

EXPERT COLUMNIST
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963   //    16 May 2019, 19:43 IST

Igor Stimac with Croatian coaches Slaven Bilic (ex) and Zlatko Dalic
Igor Stimac with Croatian coaches Slaven Bilic (ex) and Zlatko Dalic

Indian football team's new coach Igor Stimac got to work immediately upon his appointment, calling up 37 players for a national team camp in New Delhi from May 20.

A lot is expected from the Croatian, who has enjoyed a stellar playing career with the national team. Stimac finished third in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France with Croatia and also bagged the 1987 Youth World Championships in Chile with Yugoslavia.

He also has played for Premier League teams like Derby County and West Ham United in his career and having such a high profile person as the coach has naturally excited the players.

Some of those definitely include players like Rahul Bheke, Brandon Fernandes and Michael Soosairaj, who were often left out by Stimac's predecessor Stephen Constantine. Stimac, however, has rewarded merit and made his selections for India's upcoming tournaments like the King's Cup and Intercontinental Cup.

In all, there are 9 new faces in the team which include Bheke, Adil Khan, Anwar Ali, Soosairaj, Redeem Tlang, Amarjit Singh, Jobby Justin, Raynier Fernandes and Nandhakumar Sekar.

Here's what some of the players had to say about Stimac's appointment and their selection into the national squad:


Pronay Halder (ATK)

Pronay Halder was one of India's captains at the Asian Cup
Pronay Halder was one of India's captains at the Asian Cup

The ATK midfielder was excited with Stimac's appointment and has said winning the King's Cup is a priority for India.

"The coach brings in a wealth of experience from his playing days as well as managerial career. He has worked with top midfielders such as Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. Personally, I feel I would be able to learn a lot from him and hopefully we'll be able to get the desired results. 
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"I am excited for the King's Cup. It's an amazing feeling to play for the National team and with some formidable opponents like Curacao.

"I feel that it'll be a good opportunity to gain some valuable experience and improve as a team. Hoping to get the results in our favour under the new coach," Halder said.


Vishal Kaith (FC Pune City)

Vishal Kaith hopes to develop as a goalkeeper under Igor Stimac
Vishal Kaith hopes to develop as a goalkeeper under Igor Stimac

The young goalkeeper Vishal Kaith has been called up to the national team and is looking forward to impressing coach Stimac.

"As all of us know that Stimac has managed Croatia and worked with top players in the world, helping them develop individually, I am confident that likewise the Indian contingent will develop further and we'll be able to get positive results in the upcoming tournaments and qualifiers," Kaith said.

"I look forward to giving my 100% in the national team camp and improve both as a team and individually. With hard work, more confidence and the guidance of the new coach, we'll be able to get the results in our favour in the upcoming games," Kaith added.

Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)

Sunil Chhetri, India skipper
Sunil Chhetri, India skipper

The Indian football team skipper says he's already spoken to the boys and is gearing up for the national team camp.

"I’ve already spoken with the boys from the National team, and we have begun working on our fitness as we will need to switch modes soon," Chhetri said.

"While there is a change in guard at the helm, what doesn’t change is our desire to keep improving. What I am also assuming won’t change is the way all you fans have backed us. Let’s all turn to this new chapter together."

Lalruatthara (Kerala Blasters)

Lalruatthara, Kerala Blasters defender
Lalruatthara, Kerala Blasters defender

Lalruatthara hopes that he can return to the national team under Igor Stimac.

"Leading Croatia to the World Cup shows the Coach's experience at the International stage. We are lucky to have him manage the Indian National Team side. Hopefully, under him, we will be able to perform well in the upcoming tournaments. 

"While the National team is used to the way it played under the former coach Constantine, I feel players will be looking forward to playing under the new coach and adapt to his style as soon as possible. 

"Everyone would be really excited to see the National team play after a significant gap. The coach will be taking charge of the National team in his first competitive game in the King's Cup. I am really excited and look forward to overcoming the challenges that lie ahead and hopefully make it to the squad," the defender said.

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