Kolkata: Indian football team facing a very tough time as they lost back to back games against Tajikistan and DPR Korea in the Intercontinental Cup. Newly appointed head coach Igor Stimac was critisised by the fans for his strategy and team selection. www.xtratime.in brings you the five reasons why Stimac needs to get time to settle in.
Building the team for the future: Igor giving chances to the young talented players like Anwar Ali, Narender Gahlot, Amarjit Singh Kiyam who made his debut against Curacao in the recently concluded King’s Cup at Thailand former Mohun Bagan midfielder Raynier Fernandes getting chance in the Indian team. The inexperienced squad finding difficulties to compact their defense and midfield.
Taking time to settle in with the new structure: Former head coach Stephen Constantine publicly spoke about the lack of quality forwards and the team’s over-reliance on Sunil Chhetri. With the Bengaluru skipper turning 35 in August, there seem to be few indicators that finishers better than him will crop up anytime soon.
Jobby Justin’s move to ATK and a new head coach could put him in the spotlight but both him and other pretenders to Chhetri’s throne have had just that — one good season — and nothing more. Jeje Lalpekhlua’s legs seem to have deserted him and the likes of Manvir Singh, Sumeet Passi and Farukh Chowdhary are irregular at club level.
Team set-up aside, it remains to be seen if Stimac is handed a loftier target than his predecessor. Those — keeping the team in the top 16 in Asia and qualifying for the next Asian Cup — will be justified given the team’s quality and standard currently. Anything more and those expectations may be perceived as unrealistic.
A philosophy needs time to get success: The All India Football Federation appointed Shanmugham Venkatesh as an assistant coach. Stimac’s understanding of Indian culture and the team may be made easier but the task that he will have and one that other foreign coaches have failed at — to adopt a philosophy and make sure the team sticks with it — will be the biggest one.
The constant shifting of systems and styles of play has impeded the progress of the national team and considered to be India’s shrewdest tactician in the last 50 years, also failed to implement and cement beyond his reign.
It is not just Stimac, but every other coach will be faced with this challenge. Resetting methods from square one, in the absence of a defined set-up, will be Stimac’s first task.
The experiment will come handy for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers: Despite the result Indian team played a very good attacking football against DPR Korea in the Intercontinental Cup tie. Anirudh Thapa and Abdul Sahal also played well as India played brilliantly in the second half. They started pressing up higher and started creating more opportunities. The confidence rubbed off on other players as Rowling Borges, who was completely anonymous in the first half, started winning balls in the midfield. These are the positives the blue tigers will look to capitalise in the coming days.
Injuries to the key players: Key Indian players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Pronay Halder, Balwant Singh were injured ahead of the tournament. Stimac had to rely on the young players. India had a very good defensive organization in the AFC Asian Cup. But unfortunately they failed to reach the knock outs. After the return of these players the team will definitely do well in near future under Stimac.