Shyam Thapa – Igor Stimac needs more time to work with the players

Afghanistan managed to hold India to a 1-1 draw in Group E of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers on Thursday evening in Dushanbe.

The hosts, who were playing at a neutral venue, took the lead in the first half through Zilfi Narzary before Seminlen Doungel equalized late in the stoppage time of the second session.

Shyam Thapa, who is the Chairman of the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Technical Committee, stated that coach Igor Stimac needs more time with the players to establish his style of play.

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“We played well against Oman and Qatar. But I had expected more from this game and the last game against Bangladesh. These are SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) nations and we used to dominate them in the past. I don't know whether these nations have improved so much that they are playing toe-to-toe against India,” he questioned.

Afghanistan vs India
Afghanistan vs India

“Another problem is that our coaches don't get enough time with the national team. You cannot expect a team to adapt to a different style by practicing together for only two-three days. Igor has set up a strong defensive tactical plan but now we should look to dominate weaker teams. I don't think he has got enough time to work with the players to set his team up in that way,” he pointed.

Thapa also urged Stimac to focus more on the attacking drills in order to break down teams who sit back and defend.

“Now he should focus on the attacking maneuvers. Against teams who are ranked much lower than us, we should be on the front foot from the beginning. We should dominate them. The way we played in the second half shows our ability.

“Afghanistan saw that we were not attacking in the first half and they made most of that opportunity. In the second half we made a few changes and it showed what we are capable of,”

 

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