“The boys need to think about life after Sunil” – Igor Stimac

India breezed past Cambodia in their opening AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers fixture by a 2-0 margin. The team that comprised many young guns like Akash Mishra, Liston Colaco, Naorem Roshan Singh, Suresh Singh Wangjam, and Anwar Ali fared well. Here is what coach Igor Stimac had to say at the post-match press conference.

Excerpts:

Thoughts on the game

The conditions were difficult. Mistakes happened because the brain could not function due to the weather conditions. Big thanks to the boys who maintained the momentum and kept going. Of course, there are many aspects we have to improve on. I asked for two things from the team – a clean sheet and goals. So I am happy that we scored two goals. However, we could have scored more.

Expectations from the team

The team is well equipped and balanced. We created five to six decent chances from where we should have converted. I expect our players to step up when the team needs them. I expect goals from Aashique, Udanta, Liston, Brandon, Manvir, Sahal. The young boys need to think about life after Sunil. It is high time. This was a good chance for them to prove as Sunil was subbed off earlier in the second half.

Thoughts on young players

I want to highlight Roshan, Suresh, Anwar and Akash’s performances. I am delighted. They are the future of Indian football. Speaking of Akash and Roshan, it is always pleasing to have fullbacks who are good with their feet. They are well adept in shooting, crossing and passing. They were our secret weapons alongside the other two. The boys are not afraid and are always willing to go the extra mile. These are the type of characters that will build the future of our team, and I am very proud of them.

Take on fans

I was excited to see how fans reacted in the last three days. Their support is a pillar of our success. And I realized once again how passionate the fans of Kolkata are. I want to share a big note of thanks to the entire football community in the city. Thank you for coming. I expect to see you all in the upcoming games in greater capacity. Keep supporting.

India will play their next Group-D fixture against Afghanistan at the VYBK Stadium, Kolkata, on 11th of June. The match will be telecasted live on Star Sports Network at 20:30 IST.

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: Bengaluru FC appoints Simon Grayson as Head Coach

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