Zurich [Switzerland], Dec 5 : Igor Stimac said that he “loved every second so far” of being the Indian football team’s head coach and called it a privilege to lead a “great country”.
“I’ve loved every second so far. It is such a responsibility, and a privilege, to lead the national team of such a vast and great country. And the passion is there,” FIFA.com quoted Stimac as saying.
Stimac said in some regions cricket is popular in India while in other regions football dominates.
“People might not think of India as a football country but it really depends where you go. In some regions, cricket is still pretty dominant but in other parts, football is as important for the people as it was for me growing up in Croatia,” he said.
The Croatian coach admitted that India does have the potential and is trying to make sure India is competitive at the next Asian Cup.
“It’s always been said that India is a sleeping giant when it comes to football, and that’s true – because the potential is there. Together, we have to start waking that giant and make sure that we’re competitive at the next Asian Cup and going on to the World Cup qualifiers in 2026,” Stimac said.
Despite saying India is playing good football, Stimac enunciated that the team lack ‘final touch’ due to which they fail to score goals.
“Scoring goals is our big problem right now. We are playing some good football, and the effort is there, but we don’t have that final touch in and around the box. We need to find solutions to that and we’re working on it, through set-pieces and other methods. We have also been changing the team’s style of play, with fewer long balls, and I’m seeing real progress there – the stats show our ball retention is already much better,” he said.