“India will be a completely different ball game”- Sunil Chhetri excited with Igor Stimac appointment
by Chirag R Bhattad
AIFF have officially confirmed the appointment of former Croatian National team head coach Igor Stimac on a two-year contract. The Croat brings with him 18 years of experience in football coaching with his playing career highlighted by the Under-20 World Cup victory with Yugoslavia in 1987.
Igor Stimac was at the helm of the Croatian National team during the qualification phase of the 2014 World Cup. As their head coach, Stimac gave first team debuts to Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic and Ivan Perisic, while he coached superstars like Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and current Ballon d’Or holder Luka Modric.
When Sunil Chhetri was asked for his thoughts on the appointment of a coach who has managed such big superstars, here is what the Indian mega-star had to say:
"Igor Stimac is a coach who brings a lot of experience to the table and I’m really looking forward to working with him. There are a lot of talented youngsters coming through the ranks for the national team and his experience would benefit us all.
His experience speaks for itself and it is upon us to take advantage of it. He’s been on the biggest stage of them all and knows what it takes to keep improving. Of course, India will be a completely different ball game as compared to the teams and players he has managed, but we are all keen to keep moving ahead.
The Federation (AIFF) has appointed the coach with the view that we, as country, keep progressing. That’s the Federation’s aim, our aim as players and even the aim of the new coach. We will give this an almighty push and let’s see where it takes us.
I think there are many factors involved in us succeeding than just geographical ones. This is going to be a process and at this stage, you cannot really predict success or the lack of it. The coach is yet to come down, we as a team are yet to train and play under him – like I said, it’s a process that we will be giving our 100% towards."