Bangladesh cannot be taken lightly: Indian football coach Stimac
Doha, June 6, 2021
Bangladesh could not be taken lightly as they have a "great fighting spirit" and put in "quality work" on the pitch, India football's head coach, Igor Stimac, said on the eve of the combined qualifiers for the World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 here on Sunday.
Following their 0-1 loss to Asian Qatar on June 3, Stimac's boys will aim to garner full points against Bangladesh on Monday and Afghanistan on June 15. If they do that, it would enable India to move into the final round of the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers with renewed vigour. India are out of contention for the 2022 World Cup.
"In the football world, I would say they (Bangladesh) are a very annoying team who disturb the opposition with so much defensive work, quality work -- with blocks -- quite similar to what we did against Qatar," said Stimac.
"In football at times, you need to do everything possible to irritate the rival team, to annoy them, to cut their passing. Bangladesh are fighting it for every point in the group, and whatever they do, they do it as a team," he added.
Bangladesh are ranked 186th in the world, far below India's 105th.
"The match against Bangladesh is a big game for our fans and the team. We are going to approach the game to win it without meaning any disrespect to our opponents. Our aim has stayed the same since the beginning -- to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023," said Stimac.
Defender Sandesh Jhingan stressed that the team would aim to carry forward the "character" displayed in the match against Qatar into the match against Bangladesh.
"The match against Qatar was not easy. But we displayed a certain character and arrogance in the 90 minutes against the Asian champions. We aim to do great in our second game. We will give our best with our desire, commitment and try to make everyone proud," he said.