Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac interacted with the media ahead of the international friendly with Oman on Thursday. Here are the quotes taken from the official media release by the All India Football Federation (AIFF):
Igor Stimac began the press conference by stating his point of view regarding the selection of players for the Indian football team. He emphasized the fact that he focussed on the current form of the names on the roster rather than go with their general reputation as a player.
“When I became the National Team coach, I even mentioned to Sunil (Chhetri) that he also needs to fight for his position. This fight goes on forever. Without this continuous fight, there is no success,” Igor Stimac said.
“I cannot rely on the past. I can select the squad based on past results, but those players need to work hard. We closely monitor them, and then discuss which players fit into the starting XI,” he added.
The Indian football team are out of the race to advance to the next round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers and will be hopeful of at least making it to the AFC Asian Cup 2023.
“Our target -- from the beginning, has been to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup (2023). We have three games left in this stage of the Qualifiers. We are trying to provide enough time for the players to put in quality work before those games,” Igor Stimac stressed.
Igor Stimac's Croatian compatriot Branko Ivankovic is in charge of the Oman National Team. Stimac talked about Branko and Oman's style of play.
“My good friend Branko is with Oman now. He is a great coach. He has already coached top teams like Iran in the World Cup, and has won important trophies in his career. We both know each other well,” Stimac said.
“We have seen Oman play against Jordan (on March 20), and we are confident. They are a patient but a physical side, and do not take a lot of risks. We need to find a way to do well against their style of play.”
Our intention is to play good football: Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac
Igor Stimac is yet to find a stable starting line-up for the Indian football team. Stimac will have to get his act together soon if he wishes to lead the Indian football team into the AFC Asian Cup 2023. He insisted on the quality of football he plans to implement.
“We learn every day and from every training session. The learning never stops for us. There is not as much pressure on us when we play teams like Qatar or Oman. But when we (Indian football team) play teams like Bangladesh of Afghanistan, the onus is on us to create chances and control the game. Our intention is to play good football, and that’s what we are working on,” he stated.
India vs. Oman kicks-off at 07.15 PM IST (05.45 PM local time) at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.