The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has issued a clarification in a release a day after the head coach of the Indian football team Igor Stimac had expressed his displeasure at the facilities and quarantine requirements imposed on them in Doha, where the team is preparing for the World Cup Qualifiers, starting next week.
The statement read, “There has been some misleading media narration over the team’s preparation in Doha wherein Head Coach Mr. Igor Stimac’s comments have been misinterpreted. The team management including the players, the Head Coach, the support staff along with the AIFF are grateful to the Qatar FA for their cooperation in their quest to help the Blue Tigers prepare for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers slated in June. Their support has encouraged us to put our best foot forward.”
The coach Stimac himself said, “There has been some misleading media narration over our team’s preparation in Doha wherein my comments have been misinterpreted. From a personal and professional standpoint, myself, my team including all the players are extremely grateful to the Qatar FA for their cooperation in their quest to help us prepare for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers slated in June. In fact, without their help, our preparatory camp may not have kicked-off at all.
“The current pandemic situation is an unfortunate one, and there are certain health parameters which everyone needs to adhere to. Under such circumstances we need to be extra careful and follow the social and health guidelines set in Qatar which the entire squad is catering to.
“We are looking forward to the Qualifiers in June, and the boys are keen to put up a good show, all in an effort to bring some hope and smiles to the people back home in India,” he added.
While a World Cup qualification looks improbable for the Indian team, they could still advance to the Asian Cup qualifiers. India are currently at the fourth position in Group E, as they resume their qualifiers against the hosts Qatar in Doha on June 3.