“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Back in 2013, it wouldn’t have been much of a proud moment for a Croatian to manage Indian men’s national football team but over the last few years the Indian football underwent a massive revolution led by former India manager Stephen Constantine that saw them climbing to 96 in the FIFA ranking from a lowly rank of 173.
Suprisingly more than 200 candidates from across the world applied to the vacant post of India’s manager when Stephen Constantine resigned from the post after successfully leading India to AFC Asian Cup 2019, which includes names like Albert Roca who already achieved success in indian fields with Bengaluru FC and former Sweden manager Haka Ericson.At a time when nobody thought of Igor Stimac’s name, he came out on top of all the applicant and was appointed as the manager of Indian national Men’s football team on 15th of May,2019.Can he guide Blue Tigers to achieve new miracles in world football? Only destiny awaits!
IGOR AS A PLAYER
Igor began his career by playing as a defender for professional Croatian football club Hajduk Split and represented them in 64 matches during his first stint in the club from 1985-1992. Despite being a Croatian, he decided to try his luck with Yugoslavia U-20 side and represented in 1987 FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP where he eventually came out on the winning side.Nobody thought in 1987 that eleven years later the 19 year old Igor would represent Croatia in one of the biggest sports competition of the world i.e. in FIFA WORLD CUP 1998. As an international player he represented Croatia national team in 53 matches scoring just 2 goals in them.Igor has some successful stints in English football as a player with clubs like Derby Country and West HamUnited. Igor also played in Spain with Cădiz
IGOR AS A MANAGER
Igor returned to Hajduk Split but this time as a manager and managed the team in a few matches before joining Cebalia. He then spend some unsuccessful stint with clubs like NK Zagreb and Zadar.
The most defining managerial task of Igor Stimac’s career as a manager was his stint with Croatia national men’s football team from 2012-2014.Igor took Croatia to a record highest FIFA ranking of 4th during that time. However everything did not went well with him & Croatian national football team that after dismal performances of the Croatian side at the Fifa world cup 2014 under him, Igor resigned from the prestigious post.Igor then tried his luck with Iranian club Sepahan and also managed a Qatar based football club Al-Shahania before joining as a manager of Indian national men’s football team in 2019.
THE OTHER SIDE OF IGOR STIMAC
Apart from being a manager and footballer Igor is also well known for his singing skills. During the 1998 FiFa world Cup, his debut single “Marie & Katie” climbed all the way up to become No. 1 hits in Croatia. He tried his luck as a vocalist and played guitar for the “Bohems”, a famouse Croatian band.
Igor ran a few business during his playing days. He was the founder of a legal betting company that continued till six years until it went bankrupt. However Igor achieved success with his family business of olive oil production and wine manufacture. Thus Igor Stimac enjoyed glory in his non-football life as well.
Igor Stimac suffered from a 3-1 deficit defeat in his debut match as Indian football team’s manager. However he came back in his second game and his tactics were spot on that helped Indian national football team successfully to beat Thailand.
Igor gave playing time to almost every player in the squad. Recently Igor called in retired indian defender Anas Edathodika and brought player like Omid Singh to Indian camp.The upcoming days will be nothing sort of a test for the Croatian as lots of international football matches are coming up for the Indian national Men’s football team.
The Hero intercontinental cup set to begin from next month and will be shortly followed by FIFA World Cup qualifiers. In this scenario it will be interestimg to watch whether Igor Stimac can cope up with the expectations of curious Indian football fan or not.
Do mention in the comments what do you think about the future of Indian football under Igor Stimac?.