'Allowing diaspora players could make India World Cup regulars,' Stimac after Qatar defeat

Igor Stimac emphasized on the need for quality refereeing in important games like FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Update: 2024-06-11 19:23 GMT

Igor Stimac (Photo credit: AIFF)

India has been eliminated from the FIFA World Cup qualifiers following a 2-1 defeat against Qatar in Doha on Tuesday. The match, however, was marred by a major controversy that has left fans and players feeling cheated.

The controversy erupted when Qatar scored a contentious goal. A Qatari free-kick was cleared by Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh, and the ball clearly rolled out of play. Despite this, Alhashmi Mohialdin pulled it back in, allowing Ayman Farahat to slot it into the net. Shockingly, the referee allowed the goal to stand, a decision that has been widely criticized.

"It is an injustice to my boys tonight," said Indian head coach Igor Stimac when asked if the controversial decision was the turning point. "I mean, they equalized with that. My boys did everything that they could – I’d say Qatar team was a bit more lucky today," he said.

Stimac refrained from blaming FIFA entirely but emphasized that such mistakes should not happen. "I'm not blaming it all on FIFA – I'm just saying things like these just shouldn't happen. If it happened to Qatar, I would also speak about it."

He also highlighted that Indian football need diaspora players inorder to be a regular presence in the World Cup. "We're one of the few countries that still does not allow diaspora players to play – India would be qualifying to the World Cup regularly if we do that," Stimac concluded.

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