Coach Igor Stimac is unlikely to join the Indian football squad to the Asian Games next week, where India may be obliged to play a depleted team due to a conflict with the Indian Super League (ISL), the country’s first division tournament. On September 19, India will compete against hosts China at the Hangzhou Games. The ISL’s new season begins on September 21. The Asiad team is in doubt as the dispute between ISL clubs and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) over player availability heats up.
Each country is required by the regulations to have an under-23 squad as well as three senior players. Some of India’s best national team players are in that age bracket, and they were nominated to the first roster with veterans such as the country’s leading scorer Sunil Chhetri, defender Sandesh Jhinghan, and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. However, none of these players are expected to fly to Hangzhou in the near future.
Stimac wrote on X on Tuesday, “Target or honest fighter for the betterment of Indian football?” The moment has come to lay all of the cards on the table and determine how much and who cares about football in this country. Give it some thinking before making a decision, and thanks again for your help.” “My dream of making India a football nation is still alive,” he remarked.
Furthermore, several of India’s finest players were stuck in a tug of war between clubs and the federation because they couldn’t travel back to India from Thailand, where they were participating in a planned event.
The AIFF wanted to fly the players directly to China from Thailand, but the clubs with whom the players are contracted refused to grant them permission, stranding at least nine players in the Southeast Asian country. After considerable wrangling, the administration scheduled their flights back to India late Monday night.