Asian Cup 2019: Top 5 Achievements of Stephen Constantine with Indian National Football Team
India bowed out of the AFC Asian Cup after losing 1-0 to Bahrain in Sharjah on Monday. India finished fourth in their group as Thailand managed to play out a 1-1 draw against UAE, a result which acted as the final nail in India's coffin.
Truth be told, not many had expected India to qualify for the Round of 16's before the tournament started. But after the Blue Tigers' superb display in the first match against the War Elephants got everyone's hopes high.
Had UAE defeated Thailand on Monday, the tale could have been different for India.
Stephen Constantine, the Indian team coach who has been in charge of this team for the last four years, stepped down as the Indian National Team Coach after the defeat.
The British coach announced his resignation in what was an emotional press conference for him. The British gaffer broke down into tears while speaking about the players and his journey with the team for the last four years.
In this piece, we take a look at Stephen's top five achievements with the National team.
#5 Handing out International debuts to 40 players
Stephen Constantine has almost always faced flak regarding his team selection. Some of his choices have always been singled out and questioned.
One fact that no one can deny is the fact that he handed out International debuts to 40 players in the four years that he was in charge of the national team.
Except for Jeje Lalpekhlua and Chhetri, all the other players that played in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 all made their debuts under Constantine.
Constantine took his time and tried out a lot of combinations before selecting a definitive bunch of players.
He did give players like Romeo Fernandes, Lalinzuala Changte, and Jerry debuts in the national team set up. Players like Saumik Dey and Dhanachandra Singh also had the honour of wearing the blue jersey of India under Stephen Constantine. While Saumik and Dhanachandra were at the wrong side of the careers when the national team came calling, youngsters like Changte, Jerry, Daniel, Nikhil Poojari and Nishu Kumar would be thankful to Constantine for giving them a break at the international level at a young age.
No one else has handed out so many debuts as head coach of the Indian National Team.