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regular-article-logo Sunday, 19 May 2024

Igor Stimac, head coach of Indian football team, wants his side to play at Salt Lake Stadium

Assuming India won’t lose points against Afghanistan in two matches on March 21 and 26, they will qualify for third round of World Cup qualifiers as well as earn place in Asian Cup if they beat Kuwait at home and finish second to Qatar in group

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 08.03.24, 10:22 AM
Igor Stimac (right) with AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey at an event in the city

Igor Stimac (right) with AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey at an event in the city Picture by Sayak Banerjee 

Igor Stimac, head coach of the Indian football team, wants his side to play their crucial home clash against Kuwait in Round II of the Fifa World Cup 2026 (and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 preliminary Joint Qualification) here at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Talking to reporters at an event held at a city hotel on Thursday, Stimac said: “I feel Calcutta is the best place to host that game (on June 6). Players too feel the best here.

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“Besides, players will not feel the pressure here. Rather, they will be excited to play. I think Calcutta is a place that will give us the buzz and excitement which can take us to victory.

“We need to be clever and it’s time we be wise because for the most important game, we need 80,000 people cheering for us.”

Assuming India won’t lose points against Afghanistan in the two matches on March 21 and 26, they will qualify for the third round of World Cup qualifiers as well as earn a place in the Asian Cup if they beat Kuwait at home and finish second to Qatar in the group.

Stimac, however, warned against complacency when taking on the Afghans in the March 21 clash in Saudi Arabia’s Abha.

“The main problem will be the 2,200m altitude there. That’s why I insist on us going there on the 16th to adjust to the climate and have a few practice sessions,” the head coach emphasised.

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