Indian Football

Igor Stimac admits that Rahim Ali's absence will be a big loss for the Blue Tigers

Arjun Singh Devgan
Igor Stimac will be without the services of Rahim Ali for India
Igor Stimac will be without the services of Rahim Ali for India / Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/GettyImages
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Indian men's national team head coach, Igor Stimac has admitted that the absence of Rahim Ali due to injury will be a big loss for the Blue Tigers as he had been making Sunil Chhetri's life easier in front of goal.

The Blue Tigers are currently in Kolkata where they are preparing for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Final Round Qualifiers scheduled in June, and while Chhetri has recovered from injury - the side will be missing the services of Ali.

"Sunil Chhetri is our main force in the offence. We didn't involve him in Bahrain because he needed time to recover from his problems of the last two-three years. It must be said Rahim Ali is a big loss for us because he was forming a great partnership with Sunil. He was allowing Sunil to get into more free spaces, he was making his life easier," Stimac said on the absence of the player.

Ali was not named by Stimac for the national camp because of a persistent niggle, which he had been playing through all season of the Indian Super League (ISL), with his loss a big blow for the side.

India have been drawn in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, alongside the likes of Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and Cambodia, with all the fixtures to be held at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

Stimac's side will play two international friendlies against Zambia and Jordan on 25th and 28th of May as part of their preparations for the final round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

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