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Igor Stimac requests Indian Super League clubs to release players for Asian Games, U23 Asian Cup qualifiers

Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Indian men’s football team, took to social media to request Indian Super League clubs to release players for the Asian Games and the U-23 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

“A sincere request to all ISL Clubs. Indian Football is at a crucial junction right now. We’ve all worked very hard over the last few years to create a culture and build momentum to move towards our ultimate goals, and we need to continue working together and march forward,” he wrote.

“I urge all clubs to continue supporting our national teams, especially in the upcoming months packed with some major tournaments – AFC U23 qualifiers, Asian Games, World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup. We as a nation want to be able to put our best players on the pitch against the footballing giants of Asia and the World and show them that we are not to be taken lightly.”

Earlier, press had reported that multiple Indian Super League clubs have written to the All Indian Football Federation, expressing their hesitation to release players for U-23 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers as the matches were in the middle of the domestic season and outside the FIFA international window.

All players in the Asian Games squad and most in the list of probables for the U-23 Asian Cup qualifiers are from ISL clubs, including the national team captain Sunil Chhetri, who plays for Bengaluru FC and is expected to lead India at Hangzhou 2022.

“The work that each and every club has put in to developing and nurturing our players over the last few years is really commendable and the results can undeniably be seen in the National Team’s recent performances,” Stimac added, going on to request the teams to release players for a longer national camp ahead of the AFC Asian Cup and FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.

“I can assure you, our national teams will make sure to validate your support with our performances. Let’s take our nation to the pinnacle of football,” he said.

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