Indian football icon Sunil Chhetri said on Thursday that head coach Igor Stemek is one of the best strategists he has played under and is “very comfortable” to play under Team Croatia, whose contract expires in September.
Steamke, 54, provided guidance India Gained a historic place in the Asian Cup when the team led by Sunil Chhetri cut as Group D toppers with three consecutive wins.
This is the first time India has made a continental showpiece for the second time in a row.
Often criticized for his defensive approach, the Croatian won the hearts of many after signing his campaign with a 4-0 victory over Hong Kong.
“He (Stemac) is one of the best managers we’ve ever played under. The boys are very comfortable. He is very communicative, talks to everyone, treats everyone well. A very warm person, “Chhetri told reporters during a conversation at the new secretariat here.
“He played at the top level, so he understands the mindset of the players. He understands the dressing room and the boys, knows what to say and what not to say, how to encourage them … that’s a really good thing. “
Former defender of the Croatian team who arrived The world In the 1998 Cup semifinals, Stemac joined the board in 2019 on a two-year contract, including Englishman Stephen Constantine, who left after India’s exit from the Asia Cup group stage.
Stemac’s contract was recently renewed in view of the Asian Cup qualifiers and it remains to be seen whether the AIFF, governed by the Committee of Administrators, will renew its contract.
Prior to Steamec, Bob Houghton received similar support from his players before the 2011 Asian Cup.
“He (Houghton) had a more stable team, he had a lot of senior boys with him. With Stimac, he has a lot of young side, a lot of young people are coming. That’s a little bit different,” Chhetri said.
The venue and dates of the Asian Cup, which was earlier scheduled for 2023 in China, have not yet been decided after the original hosts pulled out due to problems related to the Covid-19.
Asked about the areas for improvement in the team, Chhetri said: “Everything … we need a lot of games, a long camp. The kind of opponents we play, everything needs to be well organized.
“So the calendar is really important now, with Durand, ISL and the Super Cup, we have to make sure we give them enough time to come together and work hard.
“Now we are going to face teams like Korea, Japan, UAE, Qatar (in the Asian Cup), it will be a different ball game. The more we prepare, the better. ”
The 37-year-old scored his 84th goal for India in their final match of the Asian Cup qualifiers against Hong Kong.
Chhetri is now on par with Hungarian Ferenc Puskas in the list of all-time top scorers. He is behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the list of top scoring active international players.
Asked who he believes to be the next ‘Sunil Chhetri’, he said: “I don’t think we will be satisfied with just one ‘Sunil Chhetri’.
“One ‘Sunil Chhetri’ is not enough to reach the top. We need a lot of players. But don’t worry we have a lot of players coming. We are a really talented group, we need to give them time. You will find many superstars here, “he signed.