India Football Coach Igor Stimac Seeks PM Modi’s Help; Know Why
New Delhi: Igor Stimac, head coach of the Indian national football team, has made a ‘humble appeal’ to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It’s not about any personal favour, but related to India’s participation in the upcoming Asian Games in China’s Hangzhou.
The Indian team is on a high, having won back-to-back tournaments recently – the Intercontinental Cup in Bhubaneswar followed by the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru.
However, Sunil Chhetri & Co. are likely to miss the Asian Games as they won’t meet the criterion to qualify for the quadrennial continental Games.
The Union Sports Ministry had said that in team events, only sides ranked in the top eight of Asia in their respective sports will be allowed to travel for the Asian Games. As things stand, India are ranked 18th in Asia. And with the Games scheduled to be held from September 23 to October 8, there is no way the Indians can jump into the top eight.
Stimac has thus made a plea for an exception to be made for the football team to participate in the tournament.
“A humble appeal and sincere request to Honourable 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!” Stimac tweeted along with screenshots of of his statements on the issue.
“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,” wrote the Croatian World Cupper.
Her also referred to Modi’s recent speech in Paris, where the PM spoke about the popularity of French star Kylian Mbappe in India. “Your speech about football and Mbappe in your recent visit to France also touched all Indians dreaming and rooting for Indian football,” Stimac wrote.
A humble appeal and sincere request to Honourable Prime Minister Sri @narendramodi ji and Hon. Sports Minister @ianuragthakur, 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!#IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/wxGMY4o5TN
— Igor Štimac (@stimac_igor) July 17, 2023
All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran told PTI that an appeal would be made to the government bodies to allow the football teams to participate in Hangzhou Games.
“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,” said Prabhakaran.
It remains to be seen if Modi responds favourably to Stimac.