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Indian Football team: Coach Igor Stimac pens a request to Prime Minister of India after team fails to enter Asian Games

Indian football coach Igor Stimac has mentioned about the reasons for the Indian team’s failing to play in the Asian Games to be “unjust” as he pens a request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The recently crowned SAFF Cup champions are set to be excluded from the Sports Ministry’s criteria to be included in the contingent to represent the country in 2023 Asian Games to be staged in Huangzhou, China.

Stimac clarifies India’s exclusion as “unjust”

Indian football team has recently been on cloud nine after they cliched three silverwares within a span of few months, as a result of which, Indian supporters all around the world have started to root for their football team. Banking on the heroics of Indian football legend Sunil Chhetri, the young Blues brigade has seen the rise of a new dawn as this team has been the best in the business since a long time.

As a result, everyone would have thought about rooting for their country in the upcoming Asian games, but their enthusiasm would be cut short as the Indian team has been excluded from the Indian contingent who are set to tour the Games. The Ministry said that teams in the top eight of the continental rankings would be allowed to participate in the Asiad, but for India, who are on the 18th position, would find it to be an uphill task to get into the top eight, with the tournament starting in September.

A hefty miss?

Asian Games was originally scheduled in the last year, but was postponed due to the surging pandemic. It is scheduled to be staged from September 2023 to October 8 this year, in Huangzhou, China. India’s miss could prove costly in the tournament as they could have achieved a podium finish owing to their blitzkrieg performances in the last three tournaments. AIFF General Secretary Prabhakaran has informed about an appeal which has been made to the ruling bodies, in hope of a positive response, as he said, “This is a decision taken by the government. So, we have to abide by it. However, we will make an appeal to the government to reconsider the decision as far as football is concerned.”

Following this, head coach of the team Igor Stimac made a plea to Narendra Modi and Anurag Thakur, Sports Minister, urging to let his side participate in the tournament, as he said, “A humble appeal and sincere request to Honorable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi ji and Hon. Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, to kindly allow our football team to participate in the Asian games. We will fight for our nation’s pride and the flag! Jai Hind!”

He further added, “India hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 and invested heavily in building a very fine new generation of players. You have always supported India’s dream of playing in FIFA World Cup one day and I am certain that if we have your continuous support in the manner we have received till date, the day is not far when we will be at the global stage participating in the most prestigious tournaments.”

“Rooting for Indian football”

Stimac further showed his respect towards Modi after the premier talked about Kylian Mbappe in Paris, as he said, “Your speech about football and Mbappe in your recent visit to France also touched all Indians dreaming and rooting for Indian football”. Passionate Stimac added the importance of the young enthusiastic minds in the football team which has toiled hard over the years and are getting results for their efforts, saying, “I wanted to bring to your immediate attention that our U-17 team from 2017, which also gave a great performance at the U-23 World Cup qualifiers and is one very talented team, is now being deprived from participating in the Asian Games. This team really needs and deserves the participation”.

He said the reasons for excluding their country are unjust and would have a negative impact on the players. He continued, “The reasons given are unjust and as India’s national team coach, I felt it’s important to immediately bring this matter to your and the Hon’ble Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s knowledge. So that you could intervene and help the team participate in the Asian Games. There are hopes and prayers of 1 billion Indians for the beautiful game and we need such participation.”

Whether Stimac’s plea would be answered or not, only time will say as Indian football players will be racing against time to secure an entry in the coveted tournament.

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