India national team: Igor Stimac wants players to be mentally and physically conditioned

After a long and extensive search process, the hunt for India’s next coach has finally come to an end with Igor Stimac appointed in the role by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old Croatian legend arrives in India with an impressive resume and has had success at the highest level both as a player and coach.

It is set to be a crucial period for the Blue Tigers with the 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup qualifiers as well as the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers set to take place later in the year and Stimac can't wait to hit the ground running.

Stimac’s first task as India coach, however, will be the upcoming King’s Cup in Thailand which is set to get underway on June 5. While there is barely any time left for the Croatian to assess his squad before the King’s Cup, he isn’t complaining.

“We don’t have time to complain about anything. So, we will use every second of our every campaign wisely and in an organised way,” Stimac told Goal in an exclusive chat.

The Croatian has his own philosophy as a coach and it is one that he will not compromise on as he seeks to shape the Indian team in his own image in the coming months.

Igor Stimac Slaven Bilic Zlatko Dalic

“We are going to use upcoming work and games to introduce my way of work, principles inside the games for each position and try to find the most effective players for us,” Stimac remarked.

“I insist on organised football, quick passing, movement and strong, disciplined defensive work.

“To be a part of such a team, each national team candidate needs to be at his best condition, mentally and physically,” the Croatian explained.

While many coaches like to place a particular emphasis on either youth or experience when starting a new role, there is no such dilemma for Stimac.

“In football there’s no young or old, there is only good or not good enough,” he quipped.