Indian footballers praise Stimac’s effort to improve fitness
New Delhi, June 24 (IANS): The Indian senior football players, who assembled in Mumbai on Monday for the preparatory camp for the forthcoming Intercontinental Cup, reflected that their daily routine in the 14-day break included regular sessions to improve their fitness and ball play.
“Coach (Igor) Stimac and his support staff had drawn up a schedule for every individual player. It was a kind of an off-season, but we had to follow it as a kind of pre-season for the camp,” defender Pritam Kotal said.
Central defender Sandesh Jhingan maintained the “bonus” stayed the fact that the schedule came from the ‘professor’ (Luka Radman) — the team’s conditioning coach.
“Professor was very categorical. He highlighted what a player needed to do when he is away from his club, and national team set-up,” Jhingan explained. “Now everyone will come back fitter. The coach can work on technical aspects, and on the system, on how we want to play.”
The Blue Tigers will be camping in Mumbai before proceeding to Ahmedabad for the Intercontinental Cup which kicks-off on July 7 at the EKA Arena. India play Tajikistan on the opening day, with North Korea and Syria being the other two teams.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu admitted: “I did see my family, but haven’t taken a break after the King’s Cup. I have been working day in day out to stay fitter,” he smiled.
“The camp will be a different one. All are fresh, and ready to carry on the momentum of learning the new system, and implement it on the pitch,” he added.
When asked if it was a bit tough, especially with not being able to devote much time for the family, Pritam said: “Not at all. I enjoyed the break, spent quality time with my family, stayed with them. But I never compromised on my fitness schedule. In fact, I did more. The awareness levels were higher.”