Head coach Igor Stimac is worried that most of the Indian players will miss out the national camp in November when they play two World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman.
With Indian Super League (ISL) set to begin on October 20 followed by the I-League most of the players will be out to represent their respective franchises and Stimac is worried that he won’t get enough players for the camp.
“I am very worried about the November camp. We are going to try everything possible to find a way with ISL people as it does not look promising for us right now,” Stimac said on the eve of their Bangladesh World Cup qualifier.
India face Afghanistan and Oman in two away matches on November 14 and November 19.
On a high after snatching a point from Asian Champions Qatar in their goalless draw in an away match last month, 104-ranked India will be looking to win their first match in group E when they face Bangladesh on Tuesday.
Bangladesh, ranked 187th, have lost both their matches to Afghanistan (0-1) and Qatar (0-2) and start as underdogs but Stimac doesn’t want his boys to underestimate their opponents.
“I wouldn’t like any of you to underestimate Bangladesh. They have some very talented youngsters just like us. Don’t make it worse and harder by underestimating them. Let’s go into this game by being respectful to the Bangladeshi team,” he said.
Bangladesh created lot of chances against Qatar before losing the match last week and Stimac said they deserved to win against the Asian champions.
“Whenever we underestimate someone the result is not good. Bangladesh did a very good job against Qatar. They created more chances. They have their expectations and dreams. They have not come here to lose the match, they have come here to win,” he said.
Stimac further pointed out that Bangladesh have improved a lot under English coach Jamie Day.
“They have worked very hard in last 18 months. They have won seven out of 13 International games under Jamie Day. They are very well-organised and disciplined. I would not like anyone of you underestimating Bangladesh.”
Stimac said favourites India will be under pressure against Bangladesh.
“In the first two games we were not favourites. Buy now the whole pressure is on us,” he said.
“We worked very hard to ensure everyone enjoys the game we are trying to implement and we hope the efforts give us result. We have to win this game so that we have a chance to keep dreaming.
“Being favourite in one game is nothing. We proved that in Qatar. It’s about who will step on the match day. It’s about improving ourselves on day to day,” Stimac concluded.