Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac has stated that team India's immediate goal is to qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, in China. The Blue Tigers need to win at least two of their remaining matches in the 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifiers to book their place in the continental event.
It’s been almost a year since the Indian football team played their last international match, which was against Oman in an away tie, last November in the World Cup Qualifiers. As far as the qualifiers are concerned, the Blue Tigers are out of contention for the next round; they can still make a cut to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup by winning two of the remaining three matches against Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Qatar. Recently, the head coach of the Indian national team, Igor Stimac, revealed that the side's immediate goal is to qualify for the continental event, but the long-term target still remains to play in the FIFA World Cup.
“Our short-term goal is to qualify for the next AFC Asian Cup which will grow our confidence and then advance further. Our long-term goal is obviously to qualify for the FIFA World Cup,” said Igor Stimac, during a virtual coaching conference.
Regarding the overall progress of the team, the Croat is very happy with the way the players have executed their jobs so far, with them adapting to the 4-2-3-1 formation. According to him, the number of passes as well as the duration of playing with the ball has gone up significantly, but believes there’s still a lot of scope for improvement.
“We are really proud of the players how they have executed their job so far. They have been doing the right job. There has been an overall improvement. We have had to adapt to a system where players play more with the ball. We have switched to 4-2-3-1 where the game starts from the goalkeeper and the centre-backs play a major role in controlling the game,” added the former World Cupper.
“There are connected movements and players need to be intelligent to make quick decisions. Full-backs need to make a run forward so they find free spaces in between and hurt the opponent. They need to learn to run behind the opponent backline. Even wingers can come inside and fullbacks go to the side-lines to utilise free space. Number of passes as well as the duration of playing with the ball has gone up significantly. We are constantly working on improving the numbers and raising the bar.”