Indian Football

'Happy for the people who were supporting us over the years' - Igor Stimac on India's Asian Cup qualification

Arjun Singh Devgan
Igor Stimac has led India to Asian Cup qualification
Igor Stimac has led India to Asian Cup qualification / Indian Football Team Twitter

India men's national team head coach, Igor Stimac has revealed that he is happy for only for himself but also for the players and supporters after the Blue Tigers not only qualified for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, but also finished their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign with a 4-0 victory over Hong Kong at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Stimac's side completely outplayed a strong Hong Kong team on Tuesday, 14 June - thrashing them 4-0, courtesy of goals from Anwar Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, and Ishan Pandit. India topped Group D with nine points from three games, thereby remaining unbeaten in the qualifying campaign.

"Obviously, I feel good and happy, not just for myself. I’m happy for the players and the people who were supporting years in the last three years, which haven’t been easy. I’m happy for the supporters who came here and in the past few games to support us. I appreciate it a lot," Stimac said post the game.

The Blue Tigers went into the final round of qualifiers as the favourites and buoyed on by the home crowd, they lived up to their tag with their talismanic skipper, Sunil Chhetri in particular proving just why he is so highly rated by ending the campaign with four goals from three games.

This is the first time in their history that India have qualified for successive Asian Cup tournaments and it will be interesting to see how they perform against much tougher opposition in the near future.