Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac showered praise on forward Manvir Singh after he scored the winning goal against Kuwait in their FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Thursday.

Singh's decisive goal propelled India to a victorious start in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers. In a goalless first half, Singh's precise finish, connecting with a cross from Lallianzuala Chhangte, broke the deadlock and found the far corner of the net.

Despite initial scepticism when Singh was given the start over Chhangte against Kuwait, Stimac's decision proved to be a masterstroke. The Mohun Bagan Super Giant player showcased an all-round performance, making a significant impact at both ends of the pitch.

Reflecting on starting Singh in the crucial game, Stimac emphasised the importance of Singh's current form and physical presence. 

"Manvir is playing with great form at his club. He has assists and has been scoring goals on a regular basis,” Stimac explained in an interview with the Times of India

“His physical presence on the pitch was also crucial. We needed that height and strength to defend set pieces and corners. That’s why we decided to leave Chhangte (out) and bring him later, where he could make an impact.”

Singh's goal marked India's first away win in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match since 2001. Known for his ability to score from tight angles and quick feet on the wings, Singh has been a vital player for Stimac over the years.

In assessing Singh's performance, Stimac insisted that the forward deserves more credit and expressed unwavering support for the 28-year-old, regardless of his form. 

"I would say that Manvir never gets enough credit for what he does on the field. People behave as if we have 100 options for centre forward. Many times, when it comes to Manvir and Rahim (Ali), people criticise a lot, but I’d never give up on these guys," he concluded.