Igor Stimac, the Indian football national team coach, has emphasized on improvement the team has made since his arrival in May 2019.
In his column for TOI, he said, “Boys from the U-17 World Cup team have graduated to the senior team and have already proven their merits. We’re one of the youngest senior national teams across the world and that’s something which will help us move forward.
“We have slowly shifted to a team that loves to play with the ball. ‘Building from the back’ is the philosophy which is endorsed in modern football, and the Blue Tigers are also trying to adopt the philosophy,”
After a promising start to the Asian Games in January 2019 where they defeated Thailand 4-1, India failed to capitalize their opening day form. As a result, India went home before the start of the knockout games. And so did their then head coach Stephen Constantine.
Though, the way India performed in the tournament was a testament that India was on an upward trajectory. Thus, the All India Football Federation carefully started the process of recruitment. The jury finally settled on Croatian, Igor Stimac.
The team has become one of the youngest teams in the world, changing the brand of football all-together. Phrases like “playing from the back”, “comfortable with the ball at the feet”, “attacking thrust” have been added to the team’s profile.
But there is still a long way to go. India is currently ranked a lowly 109th in the world.
Still, Igor Stimac is optimistic about the future of football in the country.
Igor Stimac is a satisfied man.
He said, “Looking ahead, I see the corporate world willing to invest more money in Indian football. More fans are thronging the stadiums to support.”
“Most importantly, the television audience is growing, all depicting passion and interest around Indian football.”
It would be a dream to watch India in a FIFA World Cup, for any Indian football fan. But we should not forget the work that needs to be done to achieve the country’s most ambitious goals. “Miles to go before I sleep” fits perfectly in this instance.