India head coach Igor Stimac has sought an at least two-week preparatory camp in Kerala and a friendly against Kerala Blasters prior to internationals between September 19-27, the last available FIFA window in the World Cup year. “We would like to play teams above us or at our level. There will be no more playing teams below us,” Stimac said over the phone from his home in Split, Croatia, on Friday. “The problem is: most teams have already scheduled games so we will have to see whom we get.”
Prior to the camp, Stimac said he would like to “watch a few games and speak to coaches.” The domestic season is scheduled to begin in August.
Stimac was speaking after his first meeting with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) now running the All India Football Federation (AIFF), one which he tweeted as being “fruitful.” India would need a “bit longer camp in March 23,” he said.
Stimac’s contract runs till September and it is likely CoA would leave a decision on his future to the elected committee that will take charge of AIFF. The FIFA-AFC delegation that visited New Delhi last month has set a September 15 deadline for completing the electoral process. “The priority for the CoA is currently to suggest amendments in the Constitution (sic) of AIFF, and holding the next election in accordance with the new constitution as framed under the supervision of the Honourable Supreme Court,” an AIFF media release said on Friday. The new constitution needs to be in place by July 31.
Prior to the virtual meeting with Stimac, the CoA had an online discussion with Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh. “The online meet was summoned to discuss the future pathway for the Blue Tigers, and holistic development of Indian Football overall. The CoA thanked the coach and players for their feedback and suggestions for the development of football in the country which would be considered in right earnest. The CoA also conveyed its good wishes to the coach and players for the AFC Asian Cup 2023,” the AIFF statement said.