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AIFF To Back Indian Team Coach Igor Stimac for the Final Two Group Games of FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers in June

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has pledged “complete support” to national team coach Igor Stimac for the remaining two group matches of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers scheduled for June.

AIFF President Forms Committee for Talks with India Head Coach Igor Stimac
Indian Football Team Coach Igor Stimac, Image Credits- Twitter
  1. When is India’s FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers?

    India will face Kuwait in June 6, 2024 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

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AIFF Backs Indian Football Team Coach Igor Stimac Till June

Following India’s humiliating defeat to Afghanistan at home last month and a draw away against the lowest-ranked team, there were widespread demands for Stimac’s resignation from various sources.

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Even the AIFF’s technical committee, led by former India captain IM Vijayan, had opposed the Croatian coach. However, the federation believes that making a change at this juncture would pose an unnecessary risk.

Before the start of this campaign, if India had the opportunity to secure second place and advance to the third round (for the first time) with just two matches remaining, anyone would have accepted it,” stated a senior AIFF official after a meeting with Stimac on Thursday. “Implementing a change now isn’t advisable. We must concentrate on the next two matches and observe the outcome.”

India vs Afghanistan FIFA World Cup Qualifier Live Streaming Details, When and Where to Watch the IND v AFG Match
Indian Football Team in Gym Sessions, Image Credits- Twitter

Stimac informed a special committee established by AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey that if India fails to progress to the third round, he would offer his resignation.

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A year ago, I said that we would try and qualify for the third round and currently we are second in the group and two teams qualify. We will discuss this issue (of resignation) further after the match against Kuwait on June 6,” Stimac conveyed to the committee during an online session.

The Croatian coach’s contract with AIFF extends until June 2026. Should he guide India to the third round—achievable with a victory against Kuwait at home—the contract will automatically extend to 2028.

Stimac emphasized that India’s highly anticipated match against Kuwait in Kolkata will mark “a momentous occasion in Indian football,” as a victory would significantly enhance their chances of qualifying for the third round for the first time.

AIFF’s acting secretary general M Satyanarayan has assured Stimac of all necessary support for the final two games in round 2.

Coach Igor Stimac ahead of their clash against Uzbekistan Image Credits Twitter AIFF To Back Indian Team Coach Igor Stimac for the Final Two Group Games of FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers in June
Indian Football Team Coach Igor Stimac, Image Credits- Twitter

Sources suggest that Stimac is likely to organize a training camp lasting a minimum of three weeks, initially in Bhubaneswar and then in Kolkata, the venue for the crucial clash on June 6.

India’s defeat to lower-ranked Afghanistan at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati has been difficult to accept, especially considering that the visitors were without several boycotting players. Only eight of the 23 who participated in the qualifiers were available.

Nevertheless, India currently holds the second position in the group with four points from four games, ahead of Afghanistan on goal difference and Kuwait, who have accumulated three points. Qatar leads the group with 12 points from four victories.

If India secures a victory in their upcoming home game, they will eliminate Kuwait and edge closer to securing a place in the third round.

Indian Football Team Drops Down To 121 By Four Places As The Latest FIFA Rankings Are Revealed

The Indian men’s football team has suffered a notable setback in the most recent FIFA rankings, falling by four places to 121, marking its lowest position in recent memory.

This decline comes on the heels of a disappointing 1-2 loss to Afghanistan in the second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which took place in Guwahati last month.

Under the leadership of coach Igor Stimac, the team had previously reached a milestone by entering the top 100 rankings last year.

Indian Football Team Image Credits X Twitter 1 AIFF To Back Indian Team Coach Igor Stimac for the Final Two Group Games of FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers in June
Indian Football Team, Image Credits- Twitter

This accomplishment was propelled by significant triumphs in tournaments such as the Intercontinental Cup, the Tri-Nations tournament, and the SAFF Championship. However, the recent defeat to Afghanistan, combined with a series of lackluster performances, has marred the team’s track record.

Despite securing a historic away victory against Kuwait in the World Cup qualifiers, the Indian team’s disappointing performance at the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar led to a steep drop of 15 positions to 117th in the FIFA rankings.

During that tournament, India failed to secure a single point or score a goal, finishing at the bottom of their group following defeats to Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria.

After a goalless draw against Afghanistan in the first leg of the World Cup qualifiers and the subsequent loss in the home fixture, there has been widespread discontent among fans, with demands for Stimac’s removal.

It’s important to note that India’s lowest-ever FIFA ranking is 173, but prior to the recent decline, they were positioned at 102nd in the rankings released on December 21, 2023.


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