In the midst of a very promising period for Indian football, Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Indian national football team, has recently found himself at the center of attention. A recent report by RevSportz on Twitter has brought to light the issuance of a show-cause notice to Stimac by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for his candid and passionate comments in the media. These comments have raised eyebrows, prompting the federation to seek clarifications from the Croatian mentor.
The report in question portrays an intriguing narrative: “Igor Stimac issued a show-cause notice by the AIFF for his passionate comments in the media. He has been asked to respond within three days!” This notice follows a series of interviews in which Stimac employed phrases such as “I have not come to bootlick,” “My contract is a very loose one. All I need to do is give a 60-day notice and walk away. You can’t hold me back,” and “you can help me to overcome the problems or you can tell me we’re not going to change anything, please coach go home, and I will go home happily…” when speaking to The Indian Express and RevSportz in recent months.
Stimac’s impassioned stance has not only put the federation on its toes but has also ignited a much-needed conversation about the future of Indian football. He openly criticized the clubs and the AIFF while advocating for an extended break to prepare for national team games. The ‘club vs. country’ debate further intensified when several Indian Super League (ISL) clubs refused to release players for the AFC U-23 qualifiers camp scheduled to take place in China in the upcoming days.
In a telling incident, only 12 out of the 28 players initially showed up for the U-23 camp. The camp had been postponed once due to clubs’ refusals to release their players. East Bengal, Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City, Jamshedpur FC, Punjab FC, and Odisha FC were among the clubs that did not release their players at the outset of the camp, leaving the team management in a precarious situation and Stimac understandably perturbed.
Stimac commenced by shining a light on the less-than-ideal situation for the national team’s preparation, acknowledging the hurdles that lay ahead. “Listen, the situation isn’t ideal,” he stated. “We have time to train for just one session ahead of this game, whereas Iraq has trained for two weeks for the King’s Cup. We know we don’t have our best players. Chhangte came here with a fever, so he will not be on the pitch. Subhashish Bose couldn’t come due to cramps and fever, and Akash too is not in the best shape because of a broken hand.“
“But one thing I can tell you: we will not give up. Come what may, we will not give up, and I want the boys to give it their all and play like the Blue Tigers. At the end of the game, they should stand in front of the mirror and say to themselves that they did everything humanly possible. That’s what I want as a gift from my boys.”
The Blue Tigers showed passion and fervour as they drew 2-2 against Iraq in normal time, conceding both goals from the spot, bowing out of contention from playing the final of the King’s Cup only on penalties.
Regarding the show-cause notice issued by the AIFF, Stimac offered heartfelt insights into his perspective. He believes he should have addressed matters internally rather than publicise them. Furthermore, he emphasized that both he and the AIFF are part of the same team, working toward the common goal of improving the national team. “There were some comments in the media which said I had spoken in public when I should have taken up the matter internally. I was asked why I did not do that. Let me clarify one thing to you – I did raise every point internally, and it is not as if I don’t understand the pressures the AIFF is under.”
“It is as much my team, and as much in my interest. We are not two opposite camps. We are the same team. All of us want the interest of Indian football to be served. So whatever I am saying is because I am here to serve Indian football. That’s the one and only reason.”
In conclusion, Igor Stimac’s recent interviews and the ensuing show-cause notice have sparked a much-needed debate within Indian football circles. His unwavering commitment and fervent advocacy for the improvement of conditions for the national team have been at the forefront of his public statements. While the AIFF’s actions reflect the need for decorum and unity within the football community, Stimac’s words serve as a passionate reminder that the ultimate objective is the advancement of Indian football.
The path toward harmonizing these interests will likely continue to be a nuanced journey, requiring the careful consideration of all stakeholders involved. In Stimac, Indian football has a coach who is unapologetically dedicated to its progress, and his passion may well prove to be the catalyst for a brighter future on the pitch.
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