Indian football calendar is adjusted as per IPL, this needs to stop: Igor Stimac

Last Tuesday, India qualified for the continental championship, rounding off the qualifiers with an emphatic 4-0 win over Hong Kong. The free-flowing, great performance came as an antidote for Indian football which was reeling after multiple blows – the below-par performances of the national team, which led to a significant budget cut by the government, the appointment of administrators by the Supreme Court to run the federation which increased the possibility of a FIFA ban.

The last bit, the court action against the AIFF and a probable FIFA sanction, had Stimac worried. So, in this background, the three wins and the qualification made him ‘very happy’. But he is careful enough not to get carried away. “I wouldn’t like to be euphoric like the supporters are,” he says. “Everyone expected us to qualify so that’s not a special achievement.”

Stimac doesn’t just want to reflect on his moment of glory, which has come after ‘difficult and turbulent’ moments, and during the three years that had ‘more downs than ups’. But, he says: “I rather speak about problems instead of keeping quiet.”