2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualification: India boss Igor Stimac hoping to surprise opponents

The India U-23 national team is in UAE for their 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualification campaign wherein they will face Oman, UAE and Kyrgyz Republic.

India senior team coach Igor Stimac, who is in charge of the young team, has set out the expectations from the boys. 

What did Igor Stimac say?

Having led India to their eighth SAFF Championship title in the Maldives, the India U-23 side assembled in Bengaluru from October 17 and arrived in UAE on Wednesday.

“We had two training sessions here (Dubai). To be honest most of the players I am meeting here now. But we are grateful to be here. [It is] not easy to play football in the current [Coronavirus pandemic] situation, but a good chance for our youngsters to gain experience and find out where they stand against the stronger sides,” said Stimac.

India face Oman on October 24, before taking on UAE and Kyrgyz Republic on October 27 and 30 respectively.

How have India prepared for the tournament? 

“We analysed the game that Oman played in the last tournament and we have tried to explain to our players what are their strengths. But we need to see how we can execute that on the pitch. It is about how players adapt to different situations.

“We did not have much time to prepare as we were busy with the senior team in SAFF. But we are lucky to have some players who were there with us in SAFF. They should be comfortable and confident enough against sides like Oman, UAE, & Kyrgystan (Kyrgyz Republic),” Stimac continued.

“In this competition, we don’t have huge expectations but I hope all the players will give their 100 per cent and that’s all I am asking from them. Hope we can surprise some opponents on the pitch.”

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