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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Igor Stimac to stay at the helm for India's last two matches of 2026 World Cup qualifiers

After the loss to Afghanistan in Guwahati last week, there was a clamour for Stimac's sacking. Even the IM Vijayan-headed technical committee of the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF), in its report, said there was no other option than to remove the Croat

Angshuman Roy Calcutta Published 04.04.24, 07:53 AM
Igor Stimac.

Igor Stimac. File picture

India national football team coach Igor Stimac will be at the helm when India play their last two matches of the 2026 World Cup Group II qualifying matches in June.

India host Kuwait at Calcutta's Salt Lake stadium on June 6 and then play Qatar away on June 11. The Kuwait match is as good as a final since three points will ensure India qualify for Group III for the first time.

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After the loss to Afghanistan in Guwahati last week, there was a clamour for Stimac's sacking. Even the IM Vijayan-headed technical committee of the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF), in its report, said there was no other option than to remove the Croat.

The AIFF then formed a panel, chaired by vice-president NA Haris, to speak to Stimac. "He is staying till June at least. We have two important matches after all," a senior official told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

Acting secretary-general Satyanarayan Muthyalu and two members of the committee — Menla Ethenpa and Anilkumar Prabhakaran — formed to deal with Stimac had a meeting with the 56-year-old Croat on Tuesday. Stimac reiterated he would stick to his statement on the eve of the Guwahati match and quit if India failed to qualify for Round III.

Haris, Vijayan and Climax Lawrence could not attend the meeting.

India would have a longer camp before the June matches with around 45 players expected to be called. The camp could initially be held in Bhubaneswar and then be moved to Calcutta closer to the Kuwait game.

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