Stimac: Having one of the youngest teams in the world helps us move forward

India’s senior team head coach Igor Stimac hailed the progress made by the Blue Tigers since his appointment as he looks forward to establishing the national side as a powerhouse in Asia. In a column for The Times of India, the Croat penned his thoughts, discussing how the Blue Tigers are amongst the youngest senior national teams in the world and why that could prove to be beneficial for them.

“Boys from the U-17 World Cup team have graduated to the senior team and have already proven their merits. We're one of the youngest senior national teams across the world and that's something which will help us move forward. We have slowly shifted to a team which loves to play with the ball. ‘Building from the back' is the philosophy which is endorsed in modern football, and the Blue Tigers are also trying to adopt the philosophy,” he wrote.

“On average, we play more than 450 passes in a game now, which is a significant jump compared to our earlier games. The challenge begins now. We need to channelize the energy in the right path to get the best possible result and make football 'the sport by choice' in the country,” Stimac added.

The 53-year-old head coach also praised the work put in by his backroom staff, especially the efforts of the national team’s strength and conditioning coach Luka Radman, and goalkeeping coach Tomislav Rogic. “Top-notch coaching is also what revolutionizes national team set-ups. Professor (Luka Radman) is one of the most sought-after strength and conditioning coaches in Europe. With his introduction, the fitness levels at the team have gone up significantly,” Stimac said.

“Goalkeeping coach Tomislav Rogic has also brought in the huge experience of working with some of the best in the business. His fresh methods have helped the Gurpreets and the Amrinders to improve under the bar,” the Blue Tigers head coach shared.

Furthermore, he called on every stakeholder in Indian football to help in the development of the sport. Having been involved in football for a long time now, Stimac has seen the potential of Indian football and predicts a bright future for the sport in the country.

“Football is a sport which changes every second. It's a global phenomenon. Since my playing days for Croatia, world football has seen major changes in terms of applying new techniques, coaching tactics and formations which have helped the game turnaround 360-degree. In India, every stakeholder understands it's crucial to work in tandem to improve. At the moment everyone in Indian football has one focus – to move forward. And for that, everyone needs to work together,” Stimac wrote.

“Looking ahead, I see the corporate world willing to invest more money in Indian football. More fans are thronging the stadiums to support. Most importantly, the television audience is growing, all depicting passion and interest around Indian football,” he concluded.

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