Door open in Team India for ‘quality’ players from I-League : Stimac

The door is not closed for players in the I-League to find a place in the Indian national team but there is not enough quality at present, said India head coach Igor Stimac. No I-League players were selected in the 27-man squad that Stimac selected for the upcoming friendly matches against Oman and the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, the first time India are playing in over a year.

“I think we did justice with the selection of players,” Stimac said in a virtual press conference on the eve of the match against Oman. “Others performed well in Indian Super League (ISL) as well but we need to think about the opponent as well. Of course there will be people who will always say some players deserve to be here but as the coach, I have to decide the team,” he further said.

Among those playing in the I-League who were not selected is Tiddim Road Athletic Union’s (TRAU) Bidyashagar Singh, who has been integral to his team’s surprise title challenge this season with 11 goals in 14 appearances. However, Stimac said that he is not satisfied with the quality in the league and the best players in the I-League end up playing in the ISL.

“I-League players are in contention for the national team. At the moment, there is no such player with regards to qualities, there is nothing to hide in this. The best players in I-League are supposed to join the ISL as the ISL scouts follow the league as well. I had seen I-League matches live last season and some players were great. Most of them are now playing in the ISL,” said Stimac.

“The door is open its not closed and based on our assessment we will see if players can come or not,” he said.