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  5. 'Don't ask about results in Asian Cup': Igor Stimac's blunt statement might ruffle feathers in AIFF

'Don't ask about results in Asian Cup': Igor Stimac's blunt statement might ruffle feathers in AIFF

Indian football team's head coach Igor Stimac had asked for a month long preparation camp but with the Indian Super League (ISL) also in progress, the franchises are not releasing their players. For the same reason, he has said that only World Cup Qualifiers are important for him and not Asian Cup.

Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Published on: November 22, 2023 13:01 IST
Igor Stimac
Image Source : PTI Igor Stimac

India head coach Igor Stimac has made his stance clear on the upcoming Asian Cup set to be played in Doha. He is not considering the competition as important for India as the team will not get much time to prepare for the tournament due to the Indian Super League (ISL). The first phase of the premier football tournament in India will end only on Decemnber 29 while India are scheduled to face Australia on January 13 in the Asian Cup.

Hardly 10 days of preparation before the competition like Asian Cup won't be enough as Igor Stimac had asked for a month long camp. But with ISL in progress, the franchises aren't ready to release their players. India are clubbed with stronger team like Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria for the Asian Cup. "We did not get what we wanted. I was very clear, you give me time and I might provide results for you. Without the time, do not ask about the results or anything like that. Just forget it," he said according to PTI.

"I will go there (Doha) with pride to represent India with my boys. We are going to do everything but there is no time for us to work, 12-13 days is nothing to prepare," Stimac added. This statement from Stimac is certainly going to ruffle some feathers in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as the two parties have had run-ins several times previously. Moreover, he also highlighted how other teams come better prepared for the Asian Cup while the Indian team players will train together for less than two weeks only.

"We are going to face Uzbekistan who will be preparing for six weeks. I don't consider Australia as a team which we can (beat), they are better than Qatar. They are out of our league. But we are going to try everything and do everything," Igor said. Stimac also made it clear that he would be happy if none of his players get injured during the Asian Cup irrespective of results as the World Cup Qualifiers are more important for him.

"For us the most important thing is the World Cup qualifier. Knowing that we are not going to get enough time for the Asian Cup, I don't consider the Asian Cup as such an important tournament for us. I don't want to get my players injured there. That is all I am going to take care of. Because there are three games against such big opponents like Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria. We might do something well and we are definitely going to fight and do everything on the pitch. But I am not worried about that.

"I need to make sure that we get enough points in our group in the World Cup qualifiers to make sure that we get five-six home games in the third round and that will be huge for Indian football for the future.

So let us stop talking about the Asian Cup," he further said.

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