Shillong, Mar 6: It was a special day for Ricky Shabong (pictured) and the boys of the Indian Arrows team as they had a training session led by Indian senior men’s team coach Igor Stimac in Mumbai yesterday.

Indian Arrows coach Venkatesh Shanmugam, also the assistant coach of the Indian senior men’s team stated, “the boys were taken aback by the pleasant surprise,” according to an All India Football Federation press release today.

“The boys feel motivated. We had all assembled for a training session, and Igor along with Tomislav (Rogic) and Luka (Radman) took over. They shared their invaluable inputs with the boys,” Venkatesh informed. “It was a nice gesture from the national team coach which has never happened before. He watched our matches in Mumbai and expressed his desire to attend our training sessions. He himself prepared the training regime and primarily focused on our attacking aspects.”

Stimac watched Indian Arrows’ last three I-League home matches at the Cooperage Stadium against East Bengal (1-3), Chennai City FC (0-2) and Punjab FC (1-1). The Arrows next play TRAU FC on 8th March.

Midfielder Ricky Shabong said it was a “special day for him.”

“I’m very honoured that Stimac-sir joined us at our training before a crucial away game. It was a great experience. He helped us focus on key areas and game situations,” he explained.

Shabong played an integral part in India’s run to the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation’s U-16 Championship 2018 in Malaysia and has been in the starting XI of all of the Arrows’ 15 I-League matches this season, clocking up over 1,300 minutes on the pitch.

Stimac stressed that “developing their football knowledge” was the priority for the Arrows.

“We are not putting pressure on them with regards to getting results in the I-League. Our focus is on developing their football knowledge and physical capacities for upcoming years,” Stimac explained. “They are a good bunch of promising youngsters. Venky (Venkatesh) has been guiding them very well. It was an effective session today. I wish them all the best for the upcoming matches. I’ll look forward to spending some more time with them in the future.”

(All India Football Federation file photo)

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