BENGALURU: The Indian national football team has endured a tough time of late. Their preparation for the World Cup 2022 qualifiers, which also acts as AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers, was hit badly by the pandemic. Initially, they were supposed to start the camp on April 15, which later was pushed to early May. It also did not come to fruition.
They finally left for Doha for the preparatory camp in the third week of May but even the situation there is far from ideal. Obviously, head coach Igor Stimac, whose contract has been extended till September this year by the All India Football Federation, is not happy.
Currently in quarantine, they are only going to move into the bio-bubble from Sunday before their match against Qatar on Thursday.
"As a coach, I expected that we are going to have the possibility of using the gym for our preparations. We are having morning sessions in the halls, in front of our rooms. Our players are eating delivery food, left in front of the door. That is not proper preparation. I am quite sure that the Qatar team is not in the same position. It is as simple as that," Stimac said during a media interaction on Friday.
"Why do we not have a proper meeting hall to discuss and analyse our opponents? Why don’t we have the possibility of spending more time together, meeting together? Instead of that, we have just one chance of going out in the evenings for a training session," he added.
India, who are in Group E of the World Cup qualifiers, lie on the fourth spot with three points. They may no longer be in contention for the big event, but their upcoming matches against Qatar on June 3, Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15), provides them a chance to finish in the top three of the group. This will help them attain a direct place in the AFC Asian Cup qualifying round. If not, they will feature in the Playoff round.