New Delhi: With India's campaign in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar done and dusted, the senior men's national football team is now focusing on the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Afghanistan followed by the home games against Kuwait (June 6). These matches will decide whether India will make it to Round 3 of the Asian Qualifiers, which would also guarantee direct entry into the AFC Asian Cup 2027.
Senior men’s national team head coach Igor Stimac highlighted the importance of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Afghanistan (March 21 and 26), followed by the home game against Kuwait (June 6), which could decide whether India head into Round 3 of the Asian Qualifiers, which would also guarantee direct entry into AFC Asian Cup 2027.
Stimac said: “The mission to beat Kuwait in the away game and get three points has been accomplished. Now the two games against Afghanistan and the home match against Kuwait will be extremely crucial.”
Stimac brought out these facts during a virtual meeting with the All India Football Federation’s Technical Committee. They also reviewed the performance of the Indian football team at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 and discussed the way forward.
Technical Committee chairperson I.M. Vijayan kicked off the proceedings in the presence of Acting Secretary General M. Satyanarayan, and committee members Pinky Bompal Magar, Shabbir Ali, Victor Amalraj, Climax Lawrence, Santosh Singh, and Chief Technical Officer Vincent Subramaniam and Technical Director Sabir Pasha, and India head coach Igor Stimac.
Acting Secretary General Satyanarayan said, “We've seen the National Team go through highs and lows over the last year, but we can be proud of our players and the effort that they put in every time they take the pitch. However, the area we should concentrate on is the game at the grassroots level, so that our national team becomes stronger in the future.”
Vijayan said, “I welcome all members to this meeting, and I would like to, first of all, say to the head coach that the results in Qatar are now a matter of the past. Our main focus should be on the matches ahead, in the March and June FIFA windows and that we should get the best possible results from them.”
The Committee was informed by the Acting Secretary General that apart from Hyderabad, three state associations – Maharashtra (WIFA), Odisha (FAO), and West Bengal (IFA) – have expressed interest in hosting the World Cup Qualifier against Kuwait on June 6 and that the Federation is yet to arrive at a final decision on the same. IANS