Indian Football Team

Kyrgyz Republic will be different type of challenge, says India coach Igor Stimac

Joseph Biswas

March 27 2023
Igor Stimac India vs Kyrgyz Republic

The Croatian also spoke on the preparation for the AFC Asian Cup and players’ availability.

India (106) face higher ranked Kyrgyz Republic (94) in the final game of the Tri-Nation Friendly Tournament held at the Khuman Lampak stadium in Manipur. Igor Stimac’s side won the opening encounter against Myanmar (1-0) but Kyrgyz Republic played out a draw (1-1) against the same opponent. A win or a draw will seal the tournament for the Blue Tigers.

Head coach Igor Stimac and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh attended the pre-match press conference. Here are excerpts from the PC.

Challenges compared to the previous match

Myanmar lost the first match against India but came back strongly against the higher-ranked Kyrgyz Republic (1-1). The White Falcons, on the other hand, did not play to their full potential.

Igor Stimac opined, “Yes, absolutely different type of challenge because now one round of the games is over. We know the score and the classification and obviously, Kyrgyz Republic doesn’t have other options but rather come out and try to win the game to stay alive in this competition. For us, it’s somehow different because even if we draw we can finish first and win the tournament and obviously we’re not gonna go out looking for a draw.

“We’re gonna come out and try to win the game with a good mindset, with a positive attitude and you could clearly see that. I was right when I was mentioning Myanmar as a really serious side, an organized side that can hurt you if you don’t approach the game in a good way. So them getting a good result against Kyrgyz Republic brings much more credit to our first game.”

“Defensively I was very happy about the performance and didn’t allow Myanmar to hurt us. So it’ll be totally different team out. As you know, all the players involved in the ISL finals will be there and a much stronger team I would say. We also invited (Abdul Samad) to join the team cause we have a couple of players with certain problems and injuries.”

Thoughts ahead of the game

India need only a draw to win the Tri-Nation Friendly tournament. Myanmar, on the other hand, are already out of the competition after a defeat and a draw, while the Kyrgyz Republic must win to lift the title.

The head coach said, “We go out and win the game. So we are playing at home and we are gonna have a full house. Our supporters are behind us so we don’t have other options and try to win the game and put even more pressure on the opponent. We know that they are a better team and maybe have more quality on their side, but we have a chance to prove, to prove ourselves there, so that’s what we gonna come out and try to do.”


“I never look at the history of the countries who are to play against each other rather it’s important what is here now today and not what happened in the past and that’s how I see it. We could see clearly that the Kyrgyz Republic was trying really hard against Myanmar which didn’t allow them to express their quality because it’s really difficult to make a few passes on such a pitch.

“Myanmar had much more space for attacking and they were really good at doing so. So it’s not easy for teams that are favoured here to attack, to press, to insist on possession football. I need to mention that once again because everything provided to us is magnificent – from the people in the hotel and from everyone here working very hard with the ground to provide the best possible conditions for us. I use this chance to appreciate the Chief Minister,” he added.

Watch Igor Stimac and Amrinder Singh’s full pre-match press conference for India vs Kyrgyz Republic match

AFC Asian Cup preparation

The Asian Cup is scheduled to be held early next year (January 2024) and the head coach has confirmed that serious preparations will start in September.

The 55-year-old iterated, “Everything is special in football each game, each minute, and each second. I think the most special things are for the players who are involved and who are part of this wonderful tournament. This doesn’t mean a lot because the biggest things are coming in September. This will be the proper preparation in regard to everything.

“In regard to the Asian Cup, it’s a long period of months in front of us. The boys need to take care of their food, need to take care of their rest or their training or their commitment to the club level, their performance and everything. I’m not the one who is making decisions rather they’re making decisions and they’re deciding if they’re going to be here with the national team or not. I’m here just to justify their performances and see what is needed for the national team.”

Suggestions to the players

Many players in the past have struggled from injuries and have missed out on playing for the national team at crucial junctures. The players need to take extra care and look after themselves (by not getting injured).

Igor Stimac quipped, “I can only mention one thing – I am not happy with a couple of players going through injuries and facing serious problems. They are getting injections, and painkillers and are sacrificing their health for one game which is something I suggest strongly not to be done in the future (in the next nine months).

“Apart from that, they all need to be playing as many games as possible. They need to be performing at a high level, always thinking that they’re representing India, that they’re part of the national team.”

“They need to behave well in their clubs and need to listen to their coaches and fulfil their evaluations. I never put myself in a position as a coach to put any layer with any kind of problem onto the pitch to play the game. No, because a fit player is always better even if he’s 50 per cent of the quality of the one who’s facing a small problem. He will do a better job on the pitch than the one we think is better than him. So that’s the wrong approach to look at things and will never sacrifice players’ health for any result.”

Amrinder Singh’s performance

Amrinder Singh started against Mynamar (in the previous match) ahead of number one Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. He is also making a comeback to the national side after a few years.

The goalkeeper said, “I am playing after a long time with the national team and whenever I get a chance, I try to do my best and you know, in every camp, I am part of this team the coach gives me so much confidence to do my things and what I can do on the pitch and outside the pitch. For me, it’s most important to work hard in training. I’m happy with my performance but need to work more hard and do my best.”

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