Kuala Lumpur: Igor Stimac comes with impressive qualifications and the Croatian is eager to start charting the future of India’s men’s football team as the new head coach.
India have enjoyed success in recent times and won many admirers for their performance in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and expectations are for the team to continue building on that, especially with the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Qualifiers to kick off soon
In former international Stimac, India have a head coach who has enjoyed success both as a player and a coach and he shares his thoughts and aspirations in an interview with the-AFC.com.
Hello Igor, congratulations on your appointment. If we may ask, what attracted you towards this assignment?
Putting it very simply, the challenge. India is a great country and we are here to do our best in making it happen in football too.
What kind of research and homework went in to applying and subsequently appearing for an interview for this position? Did you see matches from the domestic leagues in India?
My first talk about Indian football was with our FF President Mr Davor Šuker. After we found out there is a vacant place for Manager/ Head Coach of the Indian National Team we decided to go for it. We saw it as a great opportunity in building up bridges between our FF, and All India Football Federation in all aspects.
As and when I received information from AIFF that I was short listed with another three candidates, offering an interview either through Skype or in person, I didn’t have any doubts. I felt best to present myself – that was my immediate decision.
Nice surprise to see this video from my @HNS_CFF ex-Captain & most capped player for Croatia #DarijoSrna 🇭🇷 It was great being your Coach & I hope that you come visit me soon in🇮🇳. Keep supporting INDIA now! #BacktheBlues #BudiPonosan #Family #BlueTigers @IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/O41dXTvwWw
— Igor Štimac (@stimac_igor) May 26, 2019
It was followed with some extensive research on each ‘to do’ point all the way through. I started working on my presentation, and by now, you know the result.
I have watched many ISL matches, analysed (former India Head Coach) Mr. Stephen Constantine’s work, learnt about AIFF, read about India’s culture, history, and tradition.
You come from the fabled generation of Croatian football who achieved some great things. Do you think being part of such a team in the past helps one when they become a manager?
Of course it helps. You can’t buy the experience of playing at the highest level, neither can you learn. Either you have it, or you don’t.
It helps us to recognise the body language of the players, the reading on their faces, how they feel, knowing and understanding what they need to do, and perform better.
What is your evaluation of Indian Football? Where do you see this team being in four years?
We have the obligation to work in favour of National Football in India. Everyone is equally responsible to do everything possible in its development and securing its better future. Football is a team work, both on and off the field. The football family including the fans, mass media, all clubs, marketing sponsors, and AIFF need to work together to make India a recognised force in Asian Football again.
D-day!! เปิดจำหน่ายบัตรเเล้ว ซื้อบัตร คลิ๊ก >> https://t.co/9HMWoBaLke #ช้างศึก #เชียร์ไทยใจเดียวกัน #TogetherAsOne #บอลไทย #ฟุตบอลไทย #KingsCup #KingCup2019 #นักฟุตบอลทีมชาติไทย #Thailand #Football #Buriram #คิงส์คัพ #คิงส์คัพ2019 pic.twitter.com/55HuLYk15j
— Changsuek (@Changsuek_TH) May 16, 2019
What are your expectations from the team in the Thailand King’s Cup, which is going to be your first assignment?
At the moment, it’s the off-season, and we are introducing our way of work to the players, and improving on their fitness capacities. We are going to use the King’s Cup to try a few different things, and as many players as possible. At this stage the result is not our priority, but at the same time, we are certainly going there to win matches.
Coach @stimac_igor met the @BluePilgrims ahead of training today! 🇮🇳#IndianFootball #BackTheBlue #BlueTigers pic.twitter.com/mg2RtYBshd
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) May 25, 2019
You have previously worked in Islamic Republic of Iran and Qatar – do you think that experience will help in your time here?
Surely it will. As I said before experience is something you can’t buy – either you have it, or you don’t.
Photos: All India Football Federation, AFP