A few days before India’s SAFF Championship campaign kicks off against Bangladesh, national team head coach Igor Stimac expressed optimism that the team will be able to play with confidence and lose the “nervousness” that has plagued many of the team’s previous performances.
“I just hope it doesn’t happen again as in recent games, when we had to substitute three or four players after the first 45 minutes because we weren’t happy with their performance. We must realise that we must begin in a controlled and organised manner from the very first second. “We have to be aggressive when we have the ball and when we lose the ball,” Stimac added.
Stimac expressed his hope that the players understand what is required of them and that the squad would play fearlessly. “To limit the danger of injury, we have short practise sessions and depend on the assumption that the players know each other well and understand what we want of them. So, I’m confident and thrilled about the competition, and I’d like to enjoy it without being nervous,” said the Croatian World Cup winner, who has led the national team since July 2019.
“We’re going to play in a way that gets us results. In their encounter against Maldives, Nepal had one counter-attack and won the game despite Maldives being the superior team. We have no idea what each game will bring to the table. We’ll adapt to whatever is thrown at us,” the coach stated, alluding to the two games that were played on the first day (October 1). In the other match, Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by a solitary goal to earn three points.
Sunil Chhetri, India’s captain, claimed that the team has a strong sense of togetherness and that the dressing room climate is positive. “The camp is in a good mood. In the team, there is a lot of familiarity. The team’s balance is fantastic, and everyone on the squad wants to give it their all in the tournament,” Chhetri remarked. “We witnessed Nepal play the Maldives, and they’ve come a long way. The quality of competitiveness has improved, and teams are more aware of how to take advantage of an opponent’s flaw. He went on to say, “We have to appreciate each and every team and give it our all.”
When asked how he keeps himself motivated after more than 16 years in the national squad, Chhetri stated that his desire to perform for his country remains strong. “Playing for my nation provides me unrivalled happiness, which is why I’m in the Maldives for the SAAF Championship. When you’re a kid, you have a lot of reasons to play, but as you get older, most of those motivations fade away. As a result, anytime I get the opportunity to represent my nation, I take it extremely seriously “he stated “I’ve played 100 international matches for my country in the previous 16 years, and I know I won’t be able to play another 100. So I’m trying to make the most of what’s left of me right now “Added he.