Indian football coach Igor Stimac expects a tough game against Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2026 at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City. This will be India’s 10th attempt to qualify for the biggest event. India are clubbed in group A alongside Kuwait, Afghanistan and Qatar.
With only the top two teams progressing to the next round, Stimac feels there’s some chance to qualify for the third round. “We had a good preparation,” Stimac stated in the pre-match press conference.
“We trained for five days in Dubai, adjusting to everything that we are expecting. How you open the qualifiers with zero, one, or three points, can make a huge difference,” he further said.
Stimac’s men have won the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championship this year but they haven’t kept the momentum flowing with defeats in the Merdeka Cup, King’s Cup and the Asian Games.
However, the Blue Tigers will aim to turn the tide in their favour. They faced Kuwait twice in the SAFF Championship. However, Stimac does not want to remember that match as the perspective of both teams have changed. India are without players like Ashique Kuruniyan, Anwar Ali and Jeakson Singh.
“This match has nothing to do with the games we played two months ago because a lot of things have changed since then,” the Croatian said.
“The players had a long rest and started the season with their clubs. India and Kuwait are not the same side; we both have had a few injured players. But that’s normal in football. Teams change from month to month,” he further added.
FC Goa captain and midfielder Brandon Fernandes was also present at the press conference with head coach Stimac. The creative midfielder is also expecting a very tough contest against Kuwait. He wants the players to stay committed and hopes that India get a good start to their FIFA Qualifiers campaign.
“We expect a very difficult match,” Fernandes stated.
“It’s important that we have a good start in these qualifiers, and for that, we need to stay committed and give everything on the pitch,” he concluded.