Our preparation far from being ideal, expected a lot more from Qatar association: Stimac

KOLKATA: Livid with the strict quarantine arrangements in Qatar, Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac on Friday said their preparation is “far from being ideal” for the upcoming World Cup and Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Already out of contention for a World Cup berth, India will face Asian champions Qatar on June 3 before taking on Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15) in their remaining group E matches, with an aim to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup in China.
The Sunil Chhetri-led Blue Tigers, who were originally slated to reach Qatar on May 30, advanced their arrival to May 19. As per the strict quarantine, they are not allowed to train in the gym, use the meeting hall or even eat together.
“If I knew that everything will be like it is today, I would never accept to be honest. We could organise such games in such a
way in India also. At the end we lost the possibility of playing two home games,” Stimac told reporters during a virtual interaction.
“Here we are now, not in great conditions. This is far away from a proper preparation for the World Cup qualifiers, but it is what it is. This is not proper football work which needs to be obtained before the World Cup qualifiers.”
Frustrated with the arrangements, Stimac continued: “I’m well aware that Qatar is the future host of the World Cup, and we all know about the great facilities for football teams.
“But, as a coach, personally I expected a lot more from this organisation. I know that we changed all our plans due to the pandemic. I say a big thank you to the Qatar government for allowing us to come over here.” Under the current circumstances, the Indian players are forced to practice on the corridor, in front of their respective rooms, the 53-year-old Croatian World Cupper said.
“I didn’t expect this. I expected as a coach that we’re going to have a possibility of using the gym.
“We are doing our morning sessions in the hall in front of our rooms, and our players are eating delivery food, which is left in front of our rooms.
“That’s not proper preparation for a football player, I’m quite sure that the Qatari team is not in the same position.”
Stimac said they are forced to go through all this despite being tested COVID-19 negative three times.
“We were tested three times already, all the tests are negative. Why don’t we have a proper meeting hall, so we can discuss and analyse our opponents, why don’t we have a possibility of spending more time together, eating together.
“Instead of that we have one chance to go out in the evenings for the training session, that’s all.”

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