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Stimac makes ‘a sincere request’ to ISL clubs after 2 refuse to release players | Football News

India men’s football team head coach Igor Stimac on Saturday “sincerely requested” all the Indian Super League (ISL) clubs to release selected players for long preparatory camp ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup. The Croatian released a statement on social media.

Indian football head coach Igor Stimac(PTI)
Indian football head coach Igor Stimac(PTI)

In a lengthy note, Stimac mentioned that Indian football is at a “crucial junction” and urged the clubs to come together and support the national team, especially with the big tournaments approaching.

The Blue Tigers are scheduled to take part in four major tournaments – AFC U23 qualifiers, Asian Games, World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup – apart from the Thailand King’s Cup, which will be held in September.

“A sincere request to all ISL Clubs.

“Indian Football is at a crucial junction right now. We’ve all worked very hard over the last few years to create a culture and build momentum to move towards our ultimate goals, and we need to continue working together and march forward.

“I urge all clubs to continue supporting our national teams, especially in the upcoming months packed with some major tournaments – AFC U23 qualifiers, Asian Games, World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup. We as a nation want to be able to put our best players on the pitch against the footballing giants of Asia and the World and show them that we are not to be taken lightly.

“Each national team success is adding extra value to all the players and now we know that our boys can compete against the best teams only when we are given enough time for preparation prior to important challenges.

“The work that each and every club has put in to developing and nurturing our players over the last few years is really commendable and the results can undeniably be seen in the National Team’s recent performances. I want to thank all the clubs and their respective coaches for the huge part they’ve played in developing Indian football and kindly ask you all to keep supporting our request for longer camps throughout November and December prior to the World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup. You dear coaches know best that short preparation time is killing any hopes for us doing well in these major tournaments.

“I can assure you, our national teams will make sure to validate your support with our performances. Let’s take our nation to the pinnacle of football,” read the statement.

The coach has often emphasised on the importance of longer national camps, also crediting it behind the recent success in Intercontinental and SAFF Championship. Not only the coach the players too felt the same. “We are going to face Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria in the Asian Cup (group matches), that is why Stimac (as well as goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu) have spoken about long camps. We need it and I really hope we get it,” India captain Sunil Chhetri had said in a virtual media interaction after the SAFF Championship.

Meanwhile, East Bengal and Mumbai City FC have written to the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) saying they will not release players for the training camp in Bhubaneswar scheduled to begin on August 12.

The camp has been called for the Asian under-23 qualifiers scheduled from September 6-12 in Dalian, China. India, coached by Clifford Miranda, are grouped with Maldives, UAE and China. The qualifiers will also be part of the 2024 Olympics qualifying cycle.

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