igor stimac

Coach Igor Stimac will coach India’s soccer team for the World Cup qualifiers. (wikipedia photo)

NEW DELHI (AP) — India will try to qualify for the World Cup with former Croatia international Igor Stimac as coach.

Stimac, a defender on the national team when Croatia reached the World Cup semifinals in 1998, signed a two-year contract, the Indian soccer federation said May 15.

India has never qualified for the World Cup. The country will begin the second phase of Asian qualifying for the 2022 tournament in September.

“Indian football is going through a transition, and I am confident his vast experience will guide us to higher echelons,” federation president Praful Patel said in a statement.

Stimac previously coached Croatia’s national team and Qatari club Al-Shahania.

He resigned as Croatia coach after completing a 2014 World Cup qualifying group. Niko Kovac, Stimac’s former teammate, then led Croatia to a playoff win over Iceland.

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