New Delhi: The newly appointed Indian football coach Igor Stimac on Friday said football in the country is a 'sleeping giant' and he sees many good opportunities for the team coming up looking at the youngsters the team has in their ranks.
"Indian football is a sleeping giant and I see many good opportunities here with the youth coming up. The youngsters in the setup here are knocking on the doors of the senior national team and I am happy with the technical quality of the players. We can do great things and I am expecting a good future with the senior national team and the U-23 team," All India Football Federation (AIFF) quoted Stimac as saying.
"I have read about Indian football a lot and I have a feeling that I have been here for 5 years already. I am overwhelmed by the chance given to me by the technical committee and we can improve, develop and get results with the young players that are knocking on the door," he added.
The Croatian said that his main job is to improve the state of football in the whole country of India. He even said that if the team wants to qualify for the FIFA World Cup then the side needs to have the willingness to learn every day.
"The main objective of any nation is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup and no one has stopped us from dreaming about qualifying. As strong is our dream, the stronger the belief becomes. If we are to qualify then hard work becomes important along with the willingness to learn every day, more professionalism and more communication," Stimac said.
"My job here won't just be to improve the senior team and the U-23 team but holistically improve football in the nation. The jobs of meeting the local clubs and helping them is something that I am ready to do," he added.
Stimac even said that he would pay attention to giving more tactical options to the team. He even showed appreciation towards the former coach Stephen Constantine for taking India from 173 to 101 in the FIFA Rankings.
"The coaching philosophy would be based on giving more tactical options.
Football is going up rapidly and we need to speed up. I need to appreciate the former coach Stephen Constantine for taking India from 173 to 101 in the FIFA Rankings as doing something like that is not easy. But he opted for a more defensive style of play that was more effective to the players that he had," Stimac said.
"I will do my best to give more tactical options and plans to switch from one option to the other in the game because when you are losing 1-0 you can't sit back and defend. At that point we need to evolve into another concept of a football system," he added.
The coach of the Indian team believes that the players need to improve their concentration and tactical knowledge. He even said that the team needs to develop quick players with good speed.
"We need to improve our concentration and our tactical knowledge and movement in the game. We also have to improve on our reaction to the second ball, which is one of the most important things in football today. However, we need to develop quick players with good speed and with hearts of lions and tigers," Stimac said.
Stimac has been conducting a training camp for the national team probables in New Delhi in order to prepare for the Kings Cup in Thailand. The coach believes that the players are in good condition and he is so far satisfied with their performance.
"So far, the players are in good condition and I am satisfied with them. We will start working on technicalities and will adapt to the gameplay which suits us best. We don't have much time to change a lot and I have to decide about the 25-26 players that will be staying with us and then choose the final list of the 23 players," Stimac said.
Stimac will trim his squad to 23 before the team travels to Thailand in order to participate in the Kings Cup....