I-League footballers still need to work hard for a India call-up, says Igor Stimac

Igor Stimac (PC : CPD)

Dubai: India head coach Igor Stimac revealed that he broke into tears after watching India going down against Oman after two quickfire goals in the latter stages of the match during the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 2019.

India took the lead in that match in the 24th minute via captain Sunil Chhetri but eventually, the Gulf side emerged victorious with two late goals at Guwahati in 2019.

“When I looked back at earlier matches, I cried a few times. That first match (against Oman) was crucial, that match was going to determine whether we are going to fight for first two positions in group (and qualify for next round),” Stimac said in a virtual press conference.

“As it happened, with bad luck or inexperience (of players) in such important games, we fell down and that was something I always cry about. I felt sorry, not for myself because I have faced similar situations during my career, but for the players,” he added before the international friendly against Oman on Thursday.

Stimac was very much confident in saying that there was ‘no good player’ to pick from the I-League so all 27 players are picked from the ISL ahead of the friendlies. “At the moment there is no such player (in I-League) who has the quality to be able to join the national team. There is nothing to hide about it.

“All the best players from I-League are supposed to become part of ISL because they are all followed by ISL clubs scouting. Venkatesh from my staff is following all the players of the I-League. But the door is open and according to the feedback from the I-League scouting system we are going to act,” he further added.


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