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More Teams, Longer Season & Independent Calendar Must for Indian Football: Igor Stimac

The AFC Asian Cup which was to be held in 2023 in China is now looking for a new venue and possibly a slight postponement from the original plan. Nonetheless, India has a task on their hands. So what does Stimac, whose contract is up for renewal in September, need?

“We have 2 FIFA windows, in September and March, which we need to use to organise 4 friendly games. We need to start organising them now because if not we will run out of teams to play with. What I need is 2 weeks of time to prepare the team for such games,” Stimac said during a frank press conference which did not have any one from AIFF’s media team present.

“To expect good games and solid performances from India when facing better ranked teams, because that’s the approach we have taken, similar kind of teams or better teams, then we need to prepare ourselves for such games. We can’t get players 3 days before the game and do miracles,” he said.

“ISL season will finish mid-March and then there is the Super Cup. Before the Asian Cup finals we are going to need very similar time for preparation like we did this time (Qualifiers in Kolkata) to make sure that we are well prepared and do well,” he went on to add.

But what about his contract renewal? The AIFF is currently run by a Committee of Administrators, of whom Dr SY Quraishi, the former chief election commissioner of the country and currently a member of the Supreme Court appointed CoA, feels there is enough time to iron out the matters of the contract.

While responding to that, Stimac seemed a little upset.

“It is a complete lack of knowledge about football. It is not the duration of the contract, the work starts in the pre-season. It is important to understand that the football calendar is different from the normal calendar. The employment is generally done by June or latest by July. I hope someone explains to him how things work in football,” the 1998 World Cup Bronze medallist said.

“I am very committed to AIFF. We finished three years of work, qualified for the Asian Cup and I would love to take this team and prove to everyone that India can do better.”

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