India coach Igor Stimac calls upcoming match against Kuwait 'career-changing' for his team

India will face Kuwait on June 6©AFP

Indian football team coach Igor Stimac on Sunday said the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kuwait could be “career-changing” for his players and termed it as ” huge match.” India will face Kuwait at the Salt Lake Stadium in their penultimate match of the second round, which will be followed by the away match against Qatar on June 11. Despite their shocking defeat against lower-ranked Afghanistan in the home match in Guwahati in March. , India can still make their first entry into the third round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

“It's a huge match. The boys' career can change with this match. I want them to enjoy and do their best in the game,” Stimac told the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

India, who slipped to 121st in the FIFA rankings after earning just one point from their two meetings with Afghanistan in March, will look to put in a much better performance against Kuwait in what will also be the farewell of the talisman Sunil Chhetri in international football.

“For such an important game, we have to do a few things: regarding physical conditioning, regarding understanding what he needs, regarding the importance of this game, and regarding mental strength and self-confidence.

“So we are working on all the necessary aspects to ensure our boys are at the top of their game in this game.” The coach added: “There are two key points for preparing for this match. Firstly, winning the match is crucial. And to achieve this goal we have to be very smart. We have to understand that in the game we have need patience.

“If we don't open the score in the first half hour, we have to be smart and play quality football with pace. All these aspects are very important and we have to prepare for them.” The Blue Tigers are winless in six matches and have only scored one goal in those matches.

Over the past year, India has met Kuwait three times. This includes the tiebreaker victory in the SAFF Championship final in Bangalore.

“Each of these matches was very difficult and I can clearly say that we controlled all of these matches superbly,” Stimac said.

“We dominated in the biggest parts of each of these matches. We were above them physically. But on other occasions, before the Kuwait matches, we played many matches which helped us reach this level.

“But it's a different game now because they come here when we didn't have a chance to play matches. No league is being played right now, no club is available. But we played two matches between us to achieve the intensity we require.

“And I have to tell you that the boys were superb in these two games. I am very happy with them, happy with everything that has been done in the last three weeks,” added the coach.

When asked if there was anything missing that could have added value to the team, Stimac replied: “I'm not allowed to think about it. We have to focus on what we have . What we can do and what can be improved.

“In the last week we focus on set pieces, attacking tactics and some details regarding shape, team composure and passing speed. That's it.” PTI AH AH TAP

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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