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Football

Scoring goals a 'big problem' for team, feels Indian football coach Igor Stimac

Scoring goals a big problem for team, feels Indian football coach Igor Stimac
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By

The Bridge Desk

Published: 5 Dec 2019 2:36 PM GMT

Indian men’s football team head coach Igor Stimac stated that the team has to buckle up and fix the ‘big problem’ of scoring goals for India to begin a winning streak. India played out consecutive draws with Bangladesh and Afghanistan after an exciting start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign only to be out of the reckoning for a third-round berth.

The Sunil Chhetri-spearheaded Indian team put up a splendid show in all five games so far and settled for a draw with Asian Champions Qatar, but Stimac feels that the lack of cutting edge has proved very costly. "Scoring goals is our big problem right now. We are playing some good football, and the effort is there, but we don't have that final touch in and around the box. We need to find solutions to that," Stimac was quoted as saying by the official website of the world governing body FIFA.

Sunil Chhetri Igor Stimac
The Sunil Chhetri-spearheaded Indian team put up a splendid show in all five games so far and settled for a draw with Asian Champions Qatar, but Stimac feels that the lack of cutting edge has proved very costly. (Image credit: Facebook)

“We are working on it, through set-pieces and other methods. We have also been changing the team's style of play, with fewer long balls, and I'm seeing real progress there -- the stats show our ball retention is already much better,” he further added.

Currently placed fourth in the group, India’s 2022 World Cup qualifying chances are now over with only three points from five matches. "I only wish we had better results so far. We were always big underdogs in this group," said Stimac, a bronze medal winner in the 1998 World Cup in France.

Igor Stimac
Currently placed fourth in the group, India’s 2022 World Cup qualifying chances are now over with only three points from five matches. (Image credit: Facebook)

The 52-year-old Stimac also added that he is loving every second as the Indian head coach since his appointment six months back. "I've loved every second so far. It is a privilege to lead the national team of such a vast and great country. The passion is there. People might not think India as a football country but it really depends where you go. In some regions, cricket is pretty dominant but in other parts, football is as important for the people as it was for me growing up in Croatia. It's always been said that India is a sleeping giant when it comes to football, and that's true -- because the potential is there. Together, we have to start waking that giant and make sure that we're competitive at the next Asian Cup and going on to the World Cup qualifiers in 2026," the Croatian signed off.

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