Should Igor Stimac be sacked after the Asian Cup debacle?

India has been knocked out of the AFC Asian Cup after a 1-0 loss to Syria. India lost all 3 of their group stage games which has ignited debates and discussions about Stimac’s effectiveness in leading the team forward.

Igor Stimac’s tenure as the head coach of the Indian national football team has been a rollercoaster ride, marked by highs and lows and filled with expectations from the fans. But after the Asian Cup debacle questions must be asked about his continuity as the head coach of the Indian national team. 

Keep reading as we look into whether India’s team should move on from Igor Stimac or not. 

Why Igor Stimac needs to be sacked as the Indian team coach?

Appointment and Expectations 

Appointed in May 2019 with a two-year contract, Stimac inherited a team ranked 108th in the FIFA rankings.  

Stimac was appointed to take Indian Football to the next level and make a competitive team for the major tournaments with a proper unique Identity. 

His first major challenge was the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, where India finished third and failed to secure a spot in the World Cup but managed to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. 

Under Stimac India defeat qualified comfortably for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar and India’s playing style also improved. 

In 2023 India won 3 titles- Intercontinental Cup, SAFF Championship, and Tri-Nation Series which helped India Climb to the 99th  FIFA rankings, and India ended the year at the 102nd spot.

The Problem

Despite the positive trajectory in terms of trophies and rankings, one glaring issue remains unaddressed under Stimac’s leadership – India’s inability to defeat above-average teams consistently. 

We have shown resilience in matches against the likes of Qatar, Iraq, and most recently Australia but have always struggled to get results.

Stimac has emphasized playing possession-based football, these tactics go out of the question when we face a quality opponent and are often seen depending on the long ball tactics. 

India had been resilient while defending but in the AFC Asian Cup we ended up conceding 6 goals in our 3 games which ended any hope of qualifying for the next rounds. 

While India winning trophies might look good in hindsight. However, if we look at it closely out of the 3 trophies India won, The Tri-Nation series was a friendly tournament and India had won the SAFF Championship and Intercontinental Championship under Constantine as well. 

India finished 3rd in the last edition of the AFC Asian Cup and Stimac bought with an idea to make sure that India performed better at major tournaments like the AFC Asian Cup. 

Igor Stimac has spent 5 years with the team and this is unarguably the best Indian team we have seen in years thus the inability to not even get a single point let alone a victory makes the fans even more critical. 

Due the Asian Cup debacle India is expected to fall to 115th in FIFA rankings.

Some might argue about the circumstances around the team being not favorable before the tournament, which is true to an extent but it is not a reason for the Coach to come out before the most important tournament and make negative statements. 

Stimac before the tournament asked the fans to not expect much because the team hadn’t got much time to prepare and be ready for the tournament. 

These Negative comments don’t help much to the confidence and the environment of the team before such an important tournament. 

Recently taking Iraq as an example Stimac stated that India should also allow Indian Origin players who play abroad to represent the Indian national team to make the team better. 

In the AFC Asian Cup 2023 teams like Syria and Palestine who have even bigger conflicts going back at home are performing better against considerably tougher opponents. 

While Stimac’s issues are legitimate concerns, using them as excuses only diverted the focus from the team’s performance and progress. We saw the aftermath of this in India’s performance in the tournament. 

What’s Next for the Indian team? 

After the heartbreak of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup India shifts their attention to the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. 

Igor Stimac has himself said that if India fail to finish in the top 2 positions in the second round then he might step down as the head coach of the Indian team. Which puts fans in a delima of whether it is right decision to continue with stimac till the World Cup qualifiers or move on from him now and make a fresh start.

India is currently in the 3rd position with 3 points in 2 games and India must finish in the top 2 spots to make it to the next round and that is the target the Indian team should be eyeing. 


In conclusion, the AFC Asian Cup 2023 has raised serious doubts about Igor Stimac’s effectiveness as the head coach of the Indian national football team.

Despite initial improvements in rankings and trophy wins, the inability to consistently defeat above-average teams and the disappointing performance in the Asian Cup highlight fundamental issues.

Stimac’s negative pre-tournament comments and diversionary tactics have only exacerbated concerns.

As India sets sights on the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, a change in leadership may be necessary to ensure a more promising future for the team.

What do you think?

Written by TackleFromBehind

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