Important for us to build confidence: Igor Stimac on India’s Hero Tri-Nation triumph
Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac praised the attitude of his side as they beat Kyrgyz Republic 2-0 in the final match of the Hero Tri-National International Football Tournament at the Khuman Lampak Stadium, in Imphal, on Tuesday.
India, who had beaten Myanmar 1-0 in the opening game of the tournament, needed just a draw against higher-ranked Krygyz Republic to clinch the title. In the end, the Blue Tigers came out trumps after a comfortable victory, with Sandesh Jhingan and Sunil Chhetri getting on the scoresheet in either half.
India have now recorded five straight wins for the first time under Stimac’s tenure. Earlier, they finished top of their group in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers after wins over Cambodia, Afghanistan and Hong Kong. The results ensured that the Blue Tigers secured back-to-back qualifications for the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in history.
“The boys played with a brilliant attitude and the overall environment was also very positive. It’s the result that creates this positivity for us,” Stimac said after the game.
“This was our fifth consecutive win at home, and that’s very important for us to build confidence,” he added.
India finished the tournament with a clean sheet in both their games. Stimac was pleased with the way his side defended in both games and stated that his team is on an upward trajectory.
“We were very stable and disciplined and did not allow Myanmar or Kyrgyz Republic any greater opportunities apart from a couple of minutes in the second half, where we were a bit soft. We could have done better in those areas, but the boys are always improving,” he claimed.
Stimac also expressed gratitude toward the supporters in Manipur and the organisers of the tournament. With the Indian football team playing in Manipur for the first time, fans turned up in large numbers at the Khuman Lampak Stadium for both the games.
“We are grateful to the organisers in Manipur, the Government, the honourable Chief Minister (Shri N Biren Singh), the organisers, and all the fans for providing the atmosphere,” Stimac concluded.