NEW DELHI: Indian football team coach Igor Stimac has thanked the Qatar government and its football association for allowing his players to train there ahead of the World Cup and Asian Cup Qualifiers.
India are scheduled to play Asian champions Qatar on June 3, Bangladesh on June 7, and Afghanistan on June 15 with all three matches to be played at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha.
“These are difficult times, and there are a number of safety regulations that have been put in place, which we are working around.
“I would like to extend a big thank you to the Qatari Government for allowing us to train in Doha under such circumstances, and the Qatar FA for hosting us in such difficult times,” Stimac said.
“Qatar are the future hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and we are aware that they have some great facilities here for the football teams,” the coach added.
Already out of contention for a World Cup berth, India will be aiming to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup in China.
Stimac is confident of a good performance in the upcoming assignments in the Qatari capital.
“We do not have to do anything extra to motivate them. They are all very good professionals and I don’t have any problem in lifting their spirits,” Stimac said.
“They are well aware of the situation and have shown full commitment on the training ground. I can assure you that they will do everything possible to do well on the pitch.”
India has been facing a deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and Stimac said these grim times have made the Blue Tigers more resolute in their endeavours.
“They are very much aware of what’s happening in India. So many families are suffering right now. We have a chance to make the people of India happy with our performance. We need to take this opportunity and bring back smile to the people’s faces,” the coach said