ANI Photo | Igor Stimac calls on AIFF President in Kolkata, discusses India’s upcoming matches in FIFA World Cup qualifiers

All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Kalyan Chaubey, had a meeting with Senior National Men’s Team Coach Igor Stimac in Kolkata on Friday about India’s upcoming matches in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Kuwait.
The Indian Football Association (IFA) President Ajit Banerjee and Secretary Anirban Dutta were present at the meeting.
India is set to face Afghanistan in the away match on March 21, 2024, in Abha, Saudi Arabia, followed by the home match in Guwahati on March 26, 2024. On June 6, India will host Kuwait in a crucial home encounter. India had earlier logged full points against Kuwait, courtesy of the all-important goal by Manvir Singh.
With India standing on the brink of history, having an opportunity to make the third round of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time, the President and the head coach discussed the pros and cons involved in achieving this goal successfully. The President also discussed with the coach the issues the latter addressed during the coach’s meeting with the Technical Committee last month.
On behalf of the AIFF, Chaubey assured Stimac of all possible help and support in India’s endeavour to get among the elite 18 teams in the third round, which will also ensure India’s qualification for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 tournament proper. The president informed the coach that all technical and logistic requirements to fulfil this dream would be taken care of by the federation.
Stimac informed the president of the serious logistical issues the team could be facing while travelling to Abha. While the team would have to change the flight thrice, it would also cost the team two days of precious training time and acclimatization at a high-altitude place like Abha, which is 2270 metres above sea level.
Chaubey later said, as quoted in a release from AIFF: “India’s away match against Afghanistan on March 21, is in Abha, Saudi Arabia. I discussed with the coach the genuine logistical problems the team could be facing while travelling there. Because we have always taken a no-compromise stand on issues related to the national team, we have decided to hire a chartered flight to take our players to Abha. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the success of the national team.”
Chaubey informed the coach about the next Executive Committee and the Annual General Meeting of the AIFF on March 10, 2024, in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. He said the members present in the meeting will be updated on the technical and logistical requirements of the national team during India’s qualifying matches against Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Later, Stimac said: “I need to honour the meeting with our President, Chaubey, with appreciation and satisfaction. We had a very effective meeting today, which will help our national team obtain good results in the qualifiers ahead of us and we are going to do everything on the pitch to show our appreciation for the efforts taken by the president and his staff for the national team.
“I am very happy after the meeting and really hope the players will recognise the efforts of the AIFF. I will honour the same on the pitch.” (ANI)

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