The head coach of the Indian national team, Igor Stimac applauded the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) contribution behind the development of Indian football.
Stimac has disclosed his opinion on youth development and his idea of I-League ahead of India’s friendlies against Oman and UAE. The Croatian manager seems to be optimistic about the growth of Indian Football.
Stimac Praises AIFF’s Efforts to Develop Indian Football
Igor Stimac is hopeful that the efforts of AIFF in developing Indian Football will yield positive results very soon. The Croatian was highly criticized upon rumors of him not following the I-League.
“Some people were worried that I didn’t follow I-League this year but I have Venkatesh there and he is involved in every single game so I have great numbers, statistics from the I-League. That is the way we follow. ISL is the professional part of Indian football, it is very well organised and from this part, the players are coming to the national team.” – Igor Stimac revealed in a discussion with AIFF TV
Igor Stimac referred to I-League as a stepping stone to Indian Super League (ISL). However, the national team head coach was declared that the gateway to the senior national team for I-League performers is open.
“From I-League, because it has a lower quality of football, I consider I-League for now as a filter for the ISL. It is a platform where young Indian players develop, grow and gets recognised by ISL clubs and signed by them. Which doesn’t mean that some of the I-League players can’t get on the national team list.” averred the Croatian mamager
Grassroots are an important part of improving the quality of football and Igor Stimac has applauded the immense upsurge in the number of Baby Leagues organized in the last couple of years.
“Baby Leagues are how football starts. It helped massively to boost the promotion of football in India. I think last year we handled over 30,000 games in this league all over India. A year before that it was 12,000 games. It will only go up. Football is becoming very popular. It takes time, but we need to be very confident about what we do, how we handle this, we need to be honest and give chance to the youngster to play football.” stated Stimac.
Igor Stimac Roots for the Young Indian Footballers:
The national team head coach hopes to see the young Indian footballers excelling at the international level.
“It’s fantastic to see guys at 19, 20, 21, 23 making it to the National Team squad. We are trying to build on the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and develop their knowledge. We are trying to make sure that in the next four years they become ready to play against the best, and win against them. It’s a long process in football, and it takes time.” Stimac told AIFF
Stimac believes that the current team has 6 to 7 promising youngsters who are fearless when it comes to chasing or passing the ball. The fact that 11 of the players who are at the camp came from the AIFF youth development programme, gives Stimac hope for a better future for Indian football.
Currently, the Indian national senior team is training in Dubai for the FIFA friendlies against Oman and UAE on the 25th and 29th of March respectively.