The Indian national football team will be back on the pitch as they will lock horns against neighbours Nepal in two back to back friendlies. The first match is scheduled for September 2 at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu.
Ahead of the friendlies Indian national team head coach Igor Stimac spoke to the media regarding his squad and what he thinks about the Nepalese team.
Firstly the Croatian tactician was asked about his feeling as the Blue Tigers gear up for two friendly matches, to which he replied, “We are very happy to have a chance to be together again and having some friendly games in preparation for the upcoming SAFF competition,” said Igor Stimac. “Everything is not ideal, but I just hope that the games will be good if you’re going to provide good and exciting football. We need to learn on the pitch and we hope that all the players will be fit and ready.”
The Indian national team camp started from August 15 onwards in Kolkata. However, Igor Stimac could only choose players from all other teams apart from ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC as they were featuring in the AFC Cup. When quizzed about the availability of the players from ATKMB and Bengaluru FC in the first game against Nepal.
Yes, obviously when I said, not everything was ideal, I specifically thought about that. We didn’t have players for ATK Mohun Bagan and BFC with us. Most of them are a regular part of our team and they know what I’m expecting of them. We’re happy that they had some AFC Cup games, so they are in a good fitness condition.”
The Croatian tactician is wary of the Nepalese team ahead of the consecutive friendlies. He revealed that the Gorkhalis have improved a lot in recent times and hence he expects them to all guns blazing against India. “We did our analysis, our work on analyzing the Nepalese team. They made certain progress in the recent qualifiers. They showed that they can play good football. Defensively, they improved quite a lot. Now, they are defending as a team, you can recognize that on the pitch,” said the 53-year-old.