Stimac installing a new belief in India

first_imgIndia’s stirring display against Qatar in their own backyard in Doha will live in the memory of football fans for a long time to come with the Blue Tigers becoming the first Asian side to avoid a defeat against the reigning continental champions in 2019.That it came after India had squandered a one-goal lead against Oman before falling to a defeat at home in the previous game makes the performance against Qatar all the more impressive.While India did have to ride their luck at times and the individual brilliance of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to achieve the shutout against the Asian champions, the manner in which they approached the game at Doha despite missing the services of Sunil Chhetri and Ashique Kuruniyan was highly pleasing. Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Not afraid to build from the back despite Qatar’s high press, India’s players won hearts with their fearless approach and head coach Igor Stimac has put down that vast improvement to installing a renewed sense of belief amongst the squad.“It is all about belief. I made the players believe in their abilities,” the Croatian told Goal . “It is more about trusting yourself and your abilities rather than thinking about the opponent’s.“Qatar had everything to lose. We had nothing to lose. That is the mentality with which we prepared for the game,” he added.One of the key takeaways in India’s stalemate with Qatar was the manner in which the entire XI defended as a single unit.India vs Qatar“It is all about the collective and having a united front. There are no individual stars in this team. Everyone knows their individual job and they performed it to perfection against Qatar,” Stimac explained.These positive changes, especially the technical improvement in the gameplay, have not happened overnight for Stimac with the Croatian using the King’s Cup in Thailand and the Intercontinental Cup at home to gradually imprint his philosophy on the team.The former Croatia head coach rung in the changes in both tournaments with several players being given a chance to impress in various matches. Stimac believes that the arrival of more technically gifted players has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the squad.“I changed the personnel over time since my arrival by bringing in players like Sahal Abdul Samad, Rahul Bheke, Brandon Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Amarjit Singh, Manvir Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Adil Khan, Narender Gahlot and others as well,” he stated.“These players are good on the ball. The players who are good technically have had a rub-off effect on players who are not so good. That automatically elevated the levels of the whole team.”The challenge now, Stimac feels, is now getting the new crop of players to get more consistent game time.“These players have to start playing more consistently. Take someone like Manvir Singh for example, last year he played only around 200 minutes or so. That is not good enough and the only way he can improve is by playing more,” he said.While improvement in the technical level is a big priority for Stimac, the head coach believes that smarter game management from India was crucial to them lasting the distance in Doha. The squad’s fitness levels had been criticised after the 1-2 defeat against Oman where they conceded two late goals at Guwahati with Stimac subsequently taking umbrage to the criticism,The problem, the Croatian felt, was India’s lack of game awareness with players looking to play full throttle at every given opportunity.“Effective running is highly crucial,” Stimac said.“It is important to not go full pace in attack every time you get the ball. You need to be smarter with your game management and pick the important moments to fasten or slow down the game.“You cannot be playing with full intensity for the entire 90 minutes. Learning smarter game management is a gradual process but I am confident we will be successful in our endeavours.”Another significant change Stimac had heralded since his arrival in India is the added focus on fitness levels, particularly the body-fat percentage. India’s fitness levels had improved massively under previous coach Stephen Constantine but they have been taken to the next level since the arrival of the Croatian.Stimac has been aided by highly rated fitness specialist and compatriot Luka Radman in this regard and the results are already starting to show.All these changes that Stimac has implemented came to the fore in the draw against Qatar but the Croatian left nothing to chance tactically as well.“We did a complete tactical breakdown of the Qatar team. Their regular left-winger Akram Afif was missing so we knew their captain Hassan Al Haydos would play there,” he said.“Al Haydos loves to cut in on his right foot so our plan for Rahul Bheke was to force him to go wide.“It was similar at the other flank with Mandar Rao Dessai. Their right-winger is not so strong with his right-foot and most of the damage he causes is with his left. Hence, force him out wide too was the plan.“Then there is their star striker Almoez Ali who is just so lethal and deadly in the box. Our plan was to starve him off possession inside the box and we were largely successful to that effect as you saw.”Having made clear his vision for the senior team, the next step for Stimac is for India to streamline its coaching approach across all age-groups.“I will be sitting down with the coaches of the various junior teams soon to have serious discussions. We all need to be on the same page as to what are the kind of players we want to produce for the senior team,” he said.“It is very important for us to have the same vision and approach at all levels if we are to take giant strides in the long run.”last_img read more

Oklahoma’s Murray edges Alabama’s Tagovailoa for Heisman

first_img At Oklahoma, the tentative plan was sit out the 2016 season to fulfil NCAA transfer rules and then step in for Mayfield in 2016. But Mayfield was granted an extra year of eligibility and returned for 2017 season, relegating Murray to backing up the best quarterback in the country.His brief stints provided glimpses of a potential star. This season, as the focal point of Lincoln Riley’s creative offense, Murray developed into the dominant player he had seemed destined to become while at Allen..Murray fought back tears while thanking Riley.“You pushed me harder than any coach ever has and I just want to say thank you for believing in me and allowing me to be the quarterback of this team. The leader of this team,” Murray said.Murray, a pinpoint passer and explosive runner, surpassed the production of Mayfield. Murray has averaged 380 yards of offense per game and accounted for 51 touchdowns in leading the Sooners the Big 12 title and the playoff. Mayfield finished last season averaging 353 yards of offense and accounting for 49 touchdowns as Oklahoma won the conference and lost a playoff semifinal to Georgia in a wild Rose Bowl. Oklahoma’s Murray edges Alabama’s Tagovailoa for Heisman WSU QB Minshew was fifth overall Receive latest stories and local news in your email: Published: December 8, 2018, 7:01pm Heisman Trophy finalists, from left, Dwayne Haskins, from Ohio State; Kyler Murray, from Oklahoma; and Tua Tagovailoa, from Alabama, pose with the tophy during a media event Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) “This is crazy,” Murray said in his acceptance speech. “This is an honor, something that I’ll never forget. Something that I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life.”Unlike most seasons, the winner was far from a foregone conclusion, but Murray (517 first-place votes and 2,167 points) ended up with a fairly comfortable margin of 296 points over Tagovailoa. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the other finalists, was a distant third with 783 points. Three more quarterbacks followed: Will Grier of West Virginia, Gardner Minshew II of Washington State and McKenzie Milton of Central Florida.Murray was named on 92 percent of the Heisman ballots, third most all time. Tagovailoa’s 1,871 points received was the most for a runner-up in the 84-year history of the Heisman.Tagovailoa was the Heisman front-runner for most of the season, but Murray surged late as the Sooners turned to him and its offense to bailout a leaky defense down the stretch. Meanwhile, Tagovailoa picked a bad time to have his worst game of the season, throwing two interceptions in the Southeastern Conference championship against Georgia and leaving early with a sprained ankle. Share: “The NFL hasn’t had a 5-10 or shorter quarterback have sustained success in a long time, but Murray has a rare skill-set with his arm talent, mobility and instincts,” Brugler said.For the next month though Murray is focused on capping his college career with a national championship. He took a circuitous route to get to a place most always expect him to be.Murray’s high school career alone has already made him a Texas legend. Playing for powerhouse Allen High School, just outside of Dallas, Murray won three straight state championships at Texas’ highest level and his team went 42-0 with him starting.A five-star recruit, he signed with Texas A&M in 2015, looking to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner. Murray spent one tumultuous season with the Aggies, playing eight games before deciding to transfer. By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. NEW YORK — Kyler Murray replaced a Heisman Trophy winner by becoming a Heisman Trophy winner.The Oklahoma quarterback won college football’s most prestigious individual award Saturday night, edging Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and setting up a College Football Playoff matchup of Heisman winner versus runner-up.The fourth-ranked Sooners play the top-ranked Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl semifinal Dec. 29 in the seventh bowl matchup of Heisman winner and runner-up, and first since second-place finisher Vince Young and Texas beat Reggie Bush and Southern California in the 2006 Rose Bowl.This season, Murray stepped into the starting job at Oklahoma held by last year’s Heisman winner and first overall NFL draft pick, Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma is the first school with have Heisman-winning quarterbacks in consecutive seasons and the fifth overall with winners in back-to-back years. Murray’s first season as a starting quarterback in college is set up to also be his last. The junior has already signed a $4.66 million contract with the Oakland Athletic after he was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in June. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Murray is small for an NFL quarterback but talented enough to be an intriguing prospect if he ever decided to give it a try.Oklahoma’s late-season Heisman campaign for Murray harkened back Bo Jackson, the 1985 Heisman winner who went on to star in both the NFL and MLB, and his Bo Knows Nike ads.“I’d like to do both (baseball and football) if possible,” Murray said Friday. “But I don’t know how possible that is.”Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic called Murray a potential top-50 NFL draft pick. Share: Subscribe Today GO Oklahoma’s seventh Heisman matches Ohio State, Southern California and Notre Dame for the most by any school. Murray is the fourth Oklahoma quarterback since 2003 to win the Heisman, joining Jason White, Sam Bradford and Mayfield, and the 16th quarterback overall to win the award in the last 19 years. The Columbian is becoming a rare example of a news organization with local, family ownership. Subscribe today to support local journalism and help us to build a stronger community. By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writerlast_img read more

A place to stay for new students

A surprise act of kindness that’s made a big difference to two visitors arriving in Canada. One person who saw this happen in Hamilton says it shows that news doesn’t have to be all bad, and that there really are people out there with a good heart.Al Sweeney has the details.Two young men from France arrived here Thursday to begin studies at McMaster, when that unusual act of kindness and generosity kept their visit from getting off to a very bad start.    Salah Belaouni and Yassine Mazouz got their first look at McMaster University Friday, where they’ll be studying as exchange students.But there was trouble on the way.Lori Willmore from Airways Transit was driving them to Hamilton from the airport Thursday when it turned out they couldn’t get into the apartment they’d rented.“(The good samaritan) noticed they were on the phone and they weren’t happy and they actually looked afraid.”They had no place to stay.Until the unexpected happened.“They’re here from France and they have nowhere to go, they dont know anybody. Their English is limited and here’s this guy who said to them, ‘it’s no problem, you can come and stay with me for the night. it’s not a problem.’ “Bruce Frampton was on the bus coming home from Nova Scotia and opened his house to the two complete strangers with his partner Theresa’s complete agreement.“Well, they looked a little tired because they had been travelling for about 17 hours and I thought it was kind of important to make a good first impression in Canada.”Frampton was overseas numerous times in a 25-year army career, and was struck by the hospitality he’d receive from people who had little for themselves.This was a chance to return the favour.“You see some of the poorer places in the world and yet people extend their hosptiality so, it was just sort of karma, right?”Salah Belaouni said “I call it Canada welcome, special welcome.  We know that Canadian people are very welcoming, they welcome everyone.”For Salah and Yassine, hospitality became a reality.“Canadian hospital actually.  It‘s not just an idea or a concept, it‘s real. Our first day here in Canada and starting awesome so we’re very happy. We’ll be getting a good start.”Driver Lori Willmore sums it up.“Canada eh? Ha, Ha, Ha.”“Like Wow! Wow! It really, really renews your faith in humanity.”Bruce Frampton hadn’t met the students before that bus ride from the airport.  He says wasn’t concerned about taking strangers into his home.  Instead, he says if you can extend hospitality as a Canadian, then why not do it. 00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09 read more