The Indian football team suffered a humiliating 6-0 loss against the United Arab Emirates in a friendly match at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai on Monday. A hat-trick from UAE's all-time top goalscorer Ali Mabkhout within the first sixty minutes put the game out of India's reach.
Since his appointment in March 2019, Igor Stimac has managed just one victory in twelve matches. Although India have held higher-ranked opponents like Syria, Oman, and Qatar in his tenure, fans are livid with the recent 0-6 loss against UAE. Moreover, this was the first time in over a decade that India conceded six goals or more in an international match.
Disgruntled Indian football fans have thus started to compare Stimac's performance with that of former coach Stephen Constantine.
Twitter reactions of fans demanding Stephen Constantine to lead the Indian football team instead of Igor Stimac
Indian football team had a strong defense under Stephen Constantine
Under Stephen Constantine, India lost to UAE by a margin of 0-2 at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. But the Blue Tigers hit the woodwork thrice and were praised by the-then UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni.
Although the Indian football team won only one match in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, it bounced back strongly by qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup. India even beat Thailand 4-1 in the group stages under Constantine's tutelage.
Despite resorting to playing long balls, a robust defense and individual brilliance of Sunil Chhetri ensured India got favorable results with Constantine in charge.
Igor Stimac tried to change it. But his efforts have not borne any fruit so far. Although the Indian football team saw more of the ball against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, it required late goals from set-pieces to escape with a draw.
Against Oman last week, the Indian football team was found wanting in the first half before sharing possession equally in the second half. Manvir Singh's goal in the 55th minute leveled the terms for Stimac's side.
However, the Indian football team struggled to string together even four passes against UAE in their most recent match. The Middle East nation sauntered past India's defense with ease and regained possession quickly once they lost it.
Naturally, the tactics and approach of Stimac have elicited a strong reaction from Indian football lovers on social media.