India manager Igor Stimac hopes to have a longer domestic season in India soon in order to further develop the technical and physical aspects of Indian players and move towards the long-term goal of qualifying for the World Cup.
The Croatian coach understands that the process of starting a longer Indian Super League (ISL) has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but he hopes this will be resolved soon.
What did Igor Stimac say?
“With the pandemic going on, we can’t count on a season that will last eight to nine months. That’s the biggest problem. Our final ISL season was due to start in August and end in May. It would have been fantastic. players who come to the national camps in the offseason are not great at all. We have to work on their physical condition and cannot focus on the tactical part. I hope that will change soon and that we can have a season normal like other countries, ”said India coach.
Citing the example of China’s investment in its national football, the Croatian suggested that if India is ever to compete in the World Cup, it has to go through a protracted process.
“We have to have our internal competition at the same level as the best Asian countries. The same quality of academies and the same amount of investment. China invests billions of dollars in football, it has five million children in structured academies, thousands and thousands of foreign coaches in these academies and again that’s not enough. They try to qualify for the world cup and don’t think it will happen. If we dream of qualifying for the world cup is a huge process and other countries are doing a lot more than us in this regard in all aspects, but we have to support the process, “said Stimac.
Long term process
The former Croatia international defender spoke about the possession-based football process and philosophy he has been able to imbibe with the Indian squad since taking office in May 2019.
“Two and a half years ago I took on this job because of the technical committee formed by former players. They understand what it takes and how long it takes to build a more technical team. The process that is involved and the suffering we owe We started to restructure the team from day one by going for more technical football and with possession of the ball. The only result we went wrong was the one against Bangladesh in Salt Lake (1-1). Played all WCQ home games and yet we qualified for the third round.
“We have made sure that the footballers increase their football knowledge about nutrition, individual training and the importance of rest. We have very important players on the pitch and then we have players who can replace them. each position we have at least three players. Therefore, we are not afraid of losing anyone. We have to take a step forward and play good football in the third round and secure the qualification for the Asian Cup “, Stimac said.
Stimac stressed that he needed enough time to prepare the squad for the 2023 Asian Cup third round qualifiers and for that he would need the cooperation of the clubs so that the players were released on time. .
“We don’t know yet who will play. We have to prepare for the third round. We have to sit down with the stakeholders and find out how much time the national team will have. If we have time to prepare, he will play and them. results will be good. Otherwise it will be a bet. We have to make sure that all players are released from the club for these matches, “said the India boss.