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New Delhi, July 17 – The head coach of Indian men’s football team, Igor Stimac on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur to allow the Under-23 side’s participation in the Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8.
During the weekend, reports emerged stating that the Indian football team is unlikely to participate in the Asian Games for the second consecutive time as the team does not meet the Sports Ministry’s criteria of being ranked among the top-8 sides in the continent.
India is currently ranked 18th among nations associated with the Asian Football Confederation.
The AIFF, however, said it will appeal to the Sports Ministry to reconsider the decision.
Now, the head coach Stimac issued a lengthy statement on Twitter and urged for PM Modi’s intervention to allow the team to part in the upcoming Asian Games.
Stimac said that the national team have worked extremely hard in the last 4 years and managed some great results, proving that they can achieve more if we get the support from all stakeholders.
“Honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi ji, I am not sure if someone would have briefed you or updated you about the Indian teams participating in the upcoming Asian Games, where the most important and the key global sport “football” team has been deprived from participating and representing the Indian flag,” Stimac wrote on Twitter.
“India hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 and invested heavily in building a very fine new generation of players. You have always supported India’s dream of playing in FIFA World Cup one day and I am certain that if we have your continuous support in the manner we have received till date, the day is not far when we will be at the global stage participating in the most prestigious tournaments.
“We as a national team have worked extremely hard in the last 4 years and managed some great results, proving that we can achieve more if we get the support from all stakeholders. Your speech about football and Mbappe in your recent visit to France also touched all Indians dreaming and rooting for Indian football.”
“I wanted to bring to your immediate attention that our U-17 team from 2017, which also gave a great performance at the U-23 World Cup qualifiers and is one very talented team, is now being deprived from participating in the Asian games. This team really needs and deserves the participation.
“The reasons given are unjust and as India’s national team coach, I felt it’s important to immediately bring this matter to your and the Hon’ble Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s knowledge. So that you could intervene and help the team participate in the Asian Games,” Stimac added.