"Football should not suffer because of cricket," says Igor Stimac

New Delhi:

India national football coach has voiced out loud the issues that Indian football is facing. As the India finished their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign with a 4-0 victory over Hong Kong and also secured their second consecutive Asian Cup main-round entry for the first time in the tournament’s history.

At such crucial times, Stimac is concerned about football being put on backfoot because of cricket and this is affecting the overall game in India. 

“Things need to be sorted out about the football calendar, which is still being adjusted with regards to IPL and broadcasting… This needs to stop if we want to make football great in India. Football calendar should not depend on other things,” said Stimac.

“India is blessed to have a sport as popular as cricket but shouldn’t be afraid to have another sport becoming as popular. And to do so, they need to open the door to football. Otherwise, it will not happen. Football shouldn’t suffer because of cricket.”

Talking about the situations of management and priority given to the sport by the authorities, Stimac sounded disappointed. “When I took the job, I was expecting a far different situation, I was expecting everyone to be committed and ready to help the national team rise.”

“It is important to understand that the football calendar is different from the normal calendar. Coaches are employed prior to pre-season; their employment happens in June, latest July. So things need to be done earlier than he thinks,” he added. 

“I am very committed to AIFF. We finished three years of work, qualified for the Asian Cup and I would love to take this team and prove to everyone that India can do better.”


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