Igor Stimac to remain in charge of India’s remaining FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Igor Stimac to remain in charge of India's remaining FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
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The under-fire Igor Stimac will remain in charge of India’s FIFA World Cup second-round qualifying matches against Kuwait and Qatar as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has asked the head coach of the senior men’s team to focus on the upcoming two games. This comes a week after the technical committee headed by Indian football great IM Vijayan recommended the sacking of the Croatian World Cupper after the shocking defeat to Afghanistan in the home leg match in Guwahati on March 26. A committee, constituted by AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey and headed by vice-president N A Haris, following the loss to Afghanistan, held discussions with Stimac during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Vijayan, a member of the AIFF executive committee and the technical committee chairman, said: “I am happy that we had a good discussion with the head coach. In the World Cup qualifiers, we have two matches in hand with a chance to make Round 3 for the first time in history. “It is time we focussed on the next two matches and stayed solidly behind the national team so that they could do their best.” Three members of the committee, including Haris, Vijayan and Climax Lawrence could not attend the meeting. During the meeting, Stimac was also asked to explain his comments before the Afghanistan home game, where he had said that he would resign if India failed to qualify for round three of the qualifiers.

“A year ago, I said that we would try and qualify for Round 3, and currently we are second in the group and two teams qualify. We will discuss this issue further after the match against Kuwait on June 6, 2024,” Stimac said during the meeting. Stimac had earlier also said that the results against Kuwait and Qatar in June would be the real indicator of the Indian football team’s prospect of making a maiden appearance in the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. He reiterated that in the meeting with AIFF officials. “The game against Kuwait on June 6 will be one of the biggest days in Indian football, as a win will immensely brighten our chances to qualify for Round 3 for the first time,” Stimac said.

“The staff and the players are all aware of this historic moment that awaits us, and we will do everything in our capacity to win,” the coach said. “Fruitful discussions were had with the AIFF committee members. I appreciate everyone’s concern and hope we will join together to create history in June.” Having taken charge of the Blue Tigers in 2019, Stimac’s contract was last year extended until 2026. India host Kuwait at Kolkata’s Salt Lake stadium on June 6 and then play Qatar away on June 11. The Kuwait match is as good as a final since three points will ensure India qualify from the group for the first time.

Published By:

Saurabh Kumar

Published On:

Apr 4, 2024

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