The tactician said certain conditions would have to be met if he is to remain on in his job.

India ended their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign on a high with a 4-0 win over Hong Kong at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Tuesday. Anwar Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh and Ishan Pandita all scored for the Blue Tigers as they won Group D of the qualifiers. Igor Stimac was delighted with his team’s performance and ability to get into the Asian Cup on a high.

Reaction to win

Speaking on the win the India head coach said, “I feel good and not just for myself. I’m happy for the players and the people who were supporting years in the last three years, which haven’t been easy. I’m happy for the supporters who came here and in the past few games to support us. I appreciate it a lot.”

Plans for future

Talking about the plans for his future, the Croatian explained, “I have huge plans in India, so this game shouldn’t be one of the top ones. I’m really happy because it’s been tremendous work in the past seven weeks. That’s what happens when I get enough time to work with these boys. When you give me players 2-3 days before the game, you can’t expect much success. You need to think about the future, how much these boys deserve to be together and present India like this.

“It’s easy to be the coach for Arsenal and Man City with those players. But, to come here and reconstruct the team with expectations from everyone, show me what you can do and teach these boys to do something in 5-6 days! It’s a matter of perspective. I’m not guessing or wondering about anything. I have clarity on what we must do and I follow that.

“We look into the future where we want to be. We want to be in every Asian Cup and we also want to compete strongly for the World Cup Qualifiers, which was clearly said at the beginning of my term,” Igor Stimac added.

Build-up to Asian Cup

Addressing questions on possible national camps or international games being held during the main season, the tactician asserted, “You can hear things from the next months about changes. There will be things that will come out, there will be conditions for me to stay. Some things must change drastically and I don’t care who is on the opposite side.

“Be it FSDL, AIFF or the government. Beware of the Indian national team. We represent India, if there are ambitions in the country to think where we can be, they must follow our motto.”

Biggest reward as India coach?

When asked about his biggest reward of being the India head coach so far, Igor Stimac revealed, “Trust from players. They never lose faith on what we did and that’s why we played like we did today. We knew what was going on around us and I knew that if at any point my players stopped following what we do, I would’ve gone back home.

“The players are trying to save my job. I came here for a less salary than what was my market price. I had offers from others for better-paid jobs than I saw in India. The coach was never the problem in this country, you should talk about other problems.”

Conditions to stay on

Further explaining what the Indian football system must be like for him to continue as a head coach, Stimac explained, “In the future If I’m here, the league must start when I say, for as many days when I think the national team to prepare well. The people in AIFF and other federations need to follow my thoughts on what the team needs to go up and higher. The players who are chosen by us must play in the clubs.

“We need better communication between clubs and AIFF. I tried my best, had great relationships with the managers of the ISL clubs, but exchanging information for me is important. It’s important to be in connection with club coaches to provide individual working plans for players, so that they can improve. I hope coaches this year will get more time to work individually with Indian players, who need more time to get to the level I want them at,” he added.

Plans for I-League

The tactician also spoke about what the plans should be for the I-League going forward, as he added, “In ISL there is a 3+1 rule. But, we need to reduce foreigners altogether from I-League going forward, if we want to go forward. I need players playing as strikers or forwards than centre-backs.

“I need reasons why there is a need for foreigners in the I-League. I’d give you 100 reasons why there is no need for foreigners in India. We need to start thinking about the future. We are 8-10 years late in the development phase. 8-10 behind the top eight Asian countries. How will we get there when we want to get there? So, let’s wake up!”

Contract Situation

Finally, Igor Stimac addressed questions on his contract situation, with his current deal set to expire in September. He said,  “We had no time to talk about contracts. We don’t even have a board. Nobody thought about how that drama could affect the players.

“I’m not getting into what is right or wrong. I’m just talking about the timing. At such an important time, such a thing is happening, is anyone normal?.”

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