'Your football is imprisoned': Outgoing coach Igor Stimac tells India | Football News

'Your football is imprisoned': Outgoing coach Igor Stimac tells India | Football News

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Panaji: Igor Stimac Not going down without a fight. Stimac, who was sacked earlier this week following a string of disappointing results, said he was planning to resign even if India reached the third round of the qualifiers for the first time. India had finished the worst-performing team among the 24 teams at the AFC Asian Cup – no goals, no points – and missed out on qualification for the next stage of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“I had informed some senior players that I had decided to leave, even if India qualified, because it was impossible to work without proper support, just hearing lies,” Stimac told reporters during an online media interaction that lasted nearly two hours on Friday. “Nobody cared about the players, everyone (in All India) was not happy. soccer The Federation is more concerned about its own interests.
Most of the time, Stimac targeted senior AIFF officials, starting with the president. kalyan choubey,
“The sooner he leaves, the more Indian football will benefit,” he added.
He said vice-president NA Haris was always “entering airports, travelling, but not serious about football”, while general secretary M Satyanarayana surprised him by proposing the Inter-Continental Cup in July, the time when clubs begin their pre-season.
Even the legendary IM Vijayan was not spared. In his words, “A great footballer and legend but not the right person to be the chairman of the technical committee.”
Then there was the traditional criticism reserved for the FSDL, the organisation that owns and operates India's top-tier league, the Indian Super League (ISL).
Stimac said the contract between the AIFF and FSDL started in good faith, but it is still questionable.
“The league and the top level cannot be run by corporate business,” he said.
After being given an extension seven months ago, Stimac was sacked this week following a poor showing in the AFC Asian Cup and an even worse showing in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Stimac revealed that the sacking came less than 24 hours after he told the AIFF that he was in talks with two potential employers and needed time to resign.
“I told (AIFF general secretary) Satya that I am in talks with two parties for future jobs, so by the end of the month, I will accept an offer and you won't have to pay more than one (month's) salary. The next day I got a termination letter on email. I couldn't believe it. This happened just half a day after I told him to be patient and not get influenced by social media,” Stimac said.
Stimac, who won a FIFA World Cup bronze medal with Croatia in 1998, got the India job in 2019 after he convinced the technical committee that he could help Indian footballers perform beyond their potential. Five years later, while India are playing more attractive football than ever and won a record three trophies last year, the Croatian has to leave with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“I have come here with open arms, but your football is imprisoned. Without changing the law and allowing PIO players to represent India, nothing will change. It is a slow process. It will take about two more decades for progress to happen,” Stimac said.
The AIFF has begun the search for Stimac's successor. On the very first day, 45 applications were received from coaches across the world. But given the negative publicity surrounding the game here, Stimac felt the position would not attract big names.
“The new coach will immediately know (what is waiting for him). You cannot get any big name coach. Everyone knows the kind of things we deal with in Indian football. How we work, you may get someone who is desperate for a job. I don't think there will be any success,” he said.
Asked what he would have done differently during his five-year tenure, Stimac said he should have resigned after the SAFF Championship in July last year, in which he won his third trophy of the year.
“I shouldn't have trusted these people,” Stimac said. “After winning three trophies in 2023, I got a lot of support from the media and fans. They wanted to oust me, but they couldn't do anything. The only way they knew to run was through social media. They don't care about other things. This is the wrong way to run any serious institution.”

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