India Football Coach Happy With Draw Vs Qatar, Expects More Support Before Bangladesh Clash
The Indian football team played out a creditable 0-0 draw with Asian champions Qatar in an away encounter of the World Cup qualifiers.
India managed to salvage a goal-less draw in their World Cup qualifier match against reigning Asian champions Qatar in Doha on Tuesday. India's defence, which was off the mark in the first game against Oman, stood up against a strong Qatar side to produce a clinical performance. After a good show against Qatar, India's coach Igor Stimac said that he was more than happy to get a point from the match. India will next play Bangladesh in their World Cup qualifier campaign and Stimac expects around 80,000 people to come out in support of Indian team.
"As a coach, I don't have time to waste in thinking too much higher than it was a few days ago when we lost to Oman. Still today as a coach, of course, I am more than happy to get a point against the reigning champions of Asia," Stimac was quoted as saying by PTI.
"Our country has a population of over 1.3 billion people compared to that this was a very small crowd. I want to see 80,000 people in Kolkata against Bangladesh. We deserve that and they need to come and support us," Stimac added.
Stimac also emphasised that the team still need to work on certain areas despite holding Qatar to a goal-less draw.
"We need to improve in certain areas, on the other hand, all congratulations not just to my players but also for Qatar. There was excitement in front of both goals, of course."
India took the field without their star player and captain, Sunil Chhetri as he was out with fever.
"It was a great experience for us. All credits to my players, I am very proud of my players. But the message to the team is to keep yourself down as it is just a point," he added.
Stimac also took a potshot at those who criticised his team's fitness levels after India lost 1-2 to Oman in their campaign-opener, with both Oman goals coming in the final eight minutes. The coach asserted that fitness was never a problem for his side.
"You see, I cannot reply to each comment after a game because not many people are well educated about football. We are a fit team and we proved it today. We played against Qatar and we made space for ourselves even in the last minutes. We made sprints even in the 95th minute, showing a lot of concentration. So we showed good fitness," Stimac concluded.
(With PTI inputs)