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Igor Stimac: We still don’t have a season that extends to nine months

The men’s senior football team has found a bunch of technically capable players and now coach Igor Stimac believes he is ready to move on to the next level of competitiveness. The World Cup in Croatia made this assessment after India’s victory in the last SAFF Championship.

“Now we can say that for each position, we have three players with similar characteristics. So we are not afraid of losing anyone, because there are enough candidates in each position. We are now in a position to take a step forward, which is to play good football in the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers (February) and secure a place in the final stages of the qualifying process, “Stimac told a news conference on Tuesday.

“After a two-and-a-half year development process (since the appointment), we could say that we could create a backbone for the team with players with the right technical knowledge and ability,” he added.


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Stimac said the team showed good physical and mental qualities. “What surprised me the most were the characteristics like solidarity, energy, positive attitude and great thinking. We had little time to prepare with the players coming out of the off-season. Nepal, who deservedly reached the final, has been preparing for more than two months, which is reflected in their performance. Despite these difficulties, the boys managed to fight together and showed amazing positives and energy, ”Stimac said.


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Speaking about 37-year-old superstar Sunil Chhetri, Stimac said he judged each player by performance and not by age. “I’ve never looked at the age of the players. If I looked at my age, I wouldn’t let 18-year-olds get on the sidelines, ”he said.

Stimac said the improvement requires a long league with enough time for players to play. “We still don’t have a season that stretches to eight or nine months. Hopefully, we will soon get a season like any other country, because if we want to get into the top 10 in Asia, we need the quality of competition to match the countries that are currently in the top of the standings, ”he said.

“I would mention China here. In the last six years he has spent more than a billion dollars every year on the development of football. They have five million children in a structured academy system and employ thousands of foreign coaches. They pay millions of dollars to foreign players to come and improve their players ’knowledge of football. Despite the effort, China is missing to reach the World Cup. We dream of qualifying for the World Cup, but that is not enough, because other countries are doing much more in development, ”said Stimac, who tried to determine India’s current position.

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