India seeks the victory that it needs so much in difficult conditions

A cold Wednesday morning, when Igor Stimac reached the cold Dushanbe with the Indian team, stopped to check what he had left. There wasn't much, particularly in central defense, ahead of the crucial FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier against Afghanistan.

Sandesh Jhingan He has undergone surgery for a partial ACL rupture and is recovering in Mumbai. Anas Edathodika He has returned home after the death of his mother, and although Adil Khan traveled with the team, he has not trained in more than a week. That leaves the coach with Narender Gahlot as the only recognized central defender. Of course there are Rahul Bheke and Subhashish Bose as options in central defense, but they feel more comfortable playing elsewhere.

I have to have the options that I have available. I see this as an opportunity for the other players to take advantage of this opportunity, Stimac told TOI from the capital of Tajikistan.


India's defense will be under scrutiny when facing Afghanistan in the first of its two consecutive away games. The cold, about five degrees when the game starts at 7:30 p.m. IST, and artificial grass will pose additional problems, but the lack of options could hurt more. We have to stay focused and overcome the odds. We faced a similar situation before the Qatar game and managed to put a brave front. All this makes us stronger, said Stimac, whose team has two points in the first three games. .

After losing points against Bangladesh at home, India is in a delicate situation against Afghanistan. Former SAFF champions have chosen to play their home games in Tajikistan due to security concerns in their country, and although they have conceded nine goals in three games, they place themselves above India, thanks to a lone goal victory against Bangladesh .

Afghanistan will be a tough opponent. It is a physical team and has a good group of players. There are about six players who play in Europe, not in the top league, but even in a second division (in Europe), there is more quality, Stimac said.

No player embodies the spirit of Afghanistan more than Farshad Noor , who represented the Netherlands at the junior level and scored the winner against Bangladesh. The captain is one of the highest profile players in the team, he graduated from the youth system of the Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, reached his superior team and then moved to Nea Salamis in Cyprus.

We would have been happier if we could play in our own country, but playing here gives us confidence. We have defeated Cambodia, Bangladesh here and have settled for a draw against Tajikistan, Jordan, said coach Anoush Dastagir.