Youngsters have a great opportunity to gain experience against Jordan: India head coach Igor Stimac
Indian men's football team take on Jordan in their final match ahead of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in June and head coach Igor Stimac thus believes that the friendly match on Saturday has greater significance for the players who have a final chance to get ready for the big matches in Kolkata.
Jordan are ranked higher than India in the FIFA rankings and thus will provide them with a tough test ahead of the qualifiers.
“Another game against a stronger team will always help. It’s our last friendly game prior to qualifiers, and we need to get final answers on certain questions. Some of our youngsters will have a great opportunity to gain more experience at the international level," Indian head coach Igor Stimac was quoted as saying by the AIFF website.
Since taking charge in 2019, it is the first time that Stimac got an opportunity to train with his chosen squad for over a month, training first in Bellary and then in Kolkata.
“The fitness levels are quite good. We have another 10 days in front of us, and it should be perfect. The boys have done a great job, and they need to be rewarded with some good results in the Qualifiers,” Stimac, who was part of the Croatian World Cup team which finished third in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France further added.
The Blue Tigers are currently ranked 106 in the FIFA ladder, and had played Belarus in an official match in the FIFA International window in March 2022, a match where they went down 0-3.
Referring to Jordan as an opposition, the 54-years old head coach said, “Jordan (FIFA Ranking 91) are ranked better than Belarus (FIFA Ranking 93) but are not as physical as Belarus. So for us it should be a bit easier in regards to the build-up, and ball possession," he said.
Irrespective of how they perform against Jordan, Stimac would take another ten more days to fine tune his boys. With ATK Mohun Bagan players checking in after completing their AFC Cup commitments for the club, the coach now has a full house at his disposal.
On asking about having a full quota of players available, he said, “They came very late (May 26, morning) after playing three games in seven days, and hence, we need to be careful with them. We still have over 36 hours ahead for them to recover, and I will be making a decision whether to field them or not on the 28th morning," Stimac said.