Igor Stimac Hints More Changes Against Belarus In 2nd International Friendly
Up against higher-ranked Belarus in their second international friendly here on Saturday, national football team head coach Igor Stimac on Friday said he would continue trying out new faces so as to keep his blueprint ready for the Asian Cup final round qualifiers in June
Up against higher-ranked Belarus in their second international friendly here on Saturday, national football team head coach Igor Stimac on Friday said he would continue trying out new faces so as to keep his blueprint ready for the Asian Cup final round qualifiers in June. India almost secured a draw against Bahrain with a second-half equaliser from Rahul Bheke but only to concede an 88th minute goal to go down 1-2 in the first friendly here on Wednesday. Belarus are 10 notches above 104th ranked India.
Stimac, however, is not afraid of trying out youngsters and hinted at including Kerala Blasters' 21-year-old defender Ruivah Hormipam in the Belarus match on Saturday.
"Definitely, there will be big changes for the Belarus game, some of it coming as a result of not good enough performance from some players from the previous game, some of it coming as an opportunity for those who I count on for the future," the 54-year-old Croat said in a virtual press conference.
"We need to see what they can do at the International level. They had promising seasons in the ISL and this was a great challenge for them. So there will be the likes of Hormipam, Anwar (Ali), Roshan (Singh) on the pitch. New team is coming up, there will be fresh energy of course.
"Friendly games are the best opportunity to give players the chance to perform, and I believe if you don't take risks, you will never succeed," he added.
From the 25-member squad for the two friendlies, Stimac had given maiden call-ups to seven players -- Prabhshukhan Gill, Ruivah Hormipam, Anwar Ali, Roshan Singh, VP Suhair, Danish Farooq and Aniket Jadhav.
Out of which, Stimac tried out five players against Bahrain.
While VP Suhair and Danish Farooq were named in the starting line-up, Naorem Roshan Singh, Aniket Jadhav and Anwar Ali came on as second-half substitutes.
India also got a boost as more players would be available. Amrinder Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Akash Mishra, Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes and Aniket Jadhav reached Manama on the day of Bahrain match due to visa-related issues. Only Thapa and Jadhav played against Bahrain. "We are more optimistic this time, we have a few more faces in the middle of the pitch with the likes of Brandon, Thapa joining us. Also Jeakson Singh is available for this game, so we have more options of playing creative games," he said.
Trying out new players is not experimenting, Stimac said.
"You could see that we were out of energy in the last 10 minutes against Bahrain.
That is what makes the difference between ISL pace and International football.
"Giving opportunities to the players who deserved chances from the ISL is not experimenting. We don't have other choices to give players a chance to play, as simple as that. Please do not call that experimenting." Belarus, who are part of the UEFA World Cup qualifying group alongside the likes of Belgium, Wales, the Czech Republic and Estonia, will be an unknown entity for the Blue Tigers.
"I know their side very well. They are even one level better than Bahrain. They play against the best sides in the world.
"They play mostly counter-attacking football. But that will not be the case against us obviously. Technically they are very good, physically they are very strong and play aggressive football. But they can give you time and space to have ball possession." Stimac was unhappy with India's defensive play in their last match and said his players left too many open spaces in the middle, letting the opposition cut loose.
"I was not at all happy with the slow reaction after the ball loss. I was most unhappy that they were not able to stop crosses coming into the box and gave them free hand. It was very poor from our defence," he said.
Fresh from his impressive debut against Bahrain, Roshan said: "The experience of playing international football is totally different. I am trying to learn new things, and understand the level of the competition with the support of the coach and other players." Asked about his assist to Rahul Bheke who scored the lone goal against Bahrain, Roshan said: 'I have worked really hard in crossing, and I am happy to give my first assist in my debut game." PTI TAP PDS PDS