Kolkata (West Bengal): Indian men’s football team head coach Igor Stimac was pleased with his team’s performance as India finished their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign with a 4-0 victory over Hong Kong at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Anwar Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, and Ishan Pandita scored in a comfortable win over Hong Kong who were considered the strongest opponents for Igor Stimac’s side before heading into this match.
The Blue Tigers demonstrated their dominance by smashing their opponents.
With this win, India finished first in the group with nine points from three wins and also secured their second consecutive Asian Cup main-round entry for the first time in the tournament’s history.
“Obviously, I feel good and happy, not just for myself. I’m happy for the players and the people who were supporting years in the last three years, which haven’t been easy. I’m happy for the supporters who came here and in the past few games to support us. I appreciate it a lot,” said Stimac in a post-match press conference, as per the ISL website.
“I have huge plans with India so this game should be one of the top ones. No, I’m really happy because it’s been tremendous work in the past seven weeks. And that’s what happens when you give me enough time to work with these boys,” Stimac added.
The head coach, Stimac, further said that his motivation is to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and prove to those who think that Team India is not ‘good enough’.
“Motivation is qualifying for Asian Cup and proving to all those who are thinking that we are not good enough that they are wrong. I had a point to prove also because I came here with such a CV and such experience. And then I put myself in a position where some people start doubting me as a coach. What will that look like? So, I was putting myself at big risk,” said the head coach.
“Because believe me, it’s easy to be a coach and Arsenal, the Man City, and there when you have these players, come here and reconstruct the team, the way everybody’s expecting, okay, show me what you can do,” he added.
It was the third consecutive win for Team India in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. Earlier, they had defeated Cambodia and Afghanistan.