Indian soccer icon Sunil Chhetri on Thursday mentioned head coach Igor Stimac is likely one of the finest tacticians he has performed below and the group is “very snug” enjoying below the Croatian whose contract is expiring in September.
The 54-year-old Stimac guided India to a historic Asian Cup delivery when the Sunil Chhetri-led facet made the reduce as Group D toppers with three wins on the trot.
This was for the primary time India made the continental showpiece for a second time in a row.
Typically criticized for his defensive strategy, the Croatian gained many hearts after they signed off their marketing campaign with an emphatic 4-0 win over Hong Kong.
“He (Stimac) is likely one of the finest managers that now we have performed below. The boys are very snug. He is very approachable, talks to everybody, treats everybody nicely. A really heat man,” Chhetri informed reporters throughout an interplay on the new secretariat in Kolkata.
“He performed on the high stage, so understands the gamers’ psyche. He understands the dressing room and the boys, is aware of nicely what to say and what to not say, the best way to encourage them… it is one thing he is actually good at.”
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A former defender within the Croatian group that reached the World Cup semifinals in 1998, Stimac got here on board on a two-year contract in 2019, changing Englishman Stephen Constantine, who stop following India’s group stage exit from the Asia Cup.
Stimac’s contract was not too long ago renewed retaining in thoughts the Asian Cup qualifiers and now it stays to be seen whether or not the AIFF run by the Committee of Directors renews his contract.
Earlier than Stimac, Bob Houghton loved an identical backing from his gamers forward of the 2011 Asian Cup.
“He (Houghton) had a extra secure group, there have been lots of senior boys with him. With Stimac, he is much more of younger facet, lots of children coming in. That is the slight distinction,” Chhetri mentioned.
The venue and dates of the Asian Cup, which was earlier scheduled in China in 2023, is but to be determined after the unique hosts pulled out as a consequence of COVID-19 associated points.
Requested concerning the areas of enchancment within the group, Chhetri mentioned: “Every little thing… We want lots of video games, an extended camp. The form of opponents that we play, every part must be deliberate nicely.
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“So, the calendar is basically necessary now, proper from the Durand, the ISL and the Tremendous Cup, now we have to ensure we give them sufficient time to come back collectively and work exhausting.
“Now we’re going to face groups like Korea, Japan, UAE, Qatar (in Asian Cup), it is going to be a special ball sport. As ready as we could be, it is going to be higher for us.”
The 37-year-old scored his 84th purpose for India of their rout of Hong Kong of their remaining match of the Asian Cup qualifier.
Chhetri is now stage with Hungarian Ferenc Puskas within the all-time top-scorers listing. He’s solely behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi within the listing of top-scoring energetic worldwide gamers.
Requested who he thinks is the following ‘Sunil Chhetri’, he mentioned: “I believe we is not going to be happy with just one ‘Sunil Chhetri’.
“To succeed in the highest, just one ‘Sunil Chhetri’ is not going to suffice. We want fairly a number of gamers. however don’t fret now we have lots of gamers arising. We’re actually a proficient bunch, we have to give them time . You’ll get lots of superstars from right here,” he signed off.
This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.