Indian Football: 3 Players who may be dropped from national team by new coach Igor Stimac
Croatian Igor Stimac has been appointed officially as the head coach of the Indian national football team by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday. This comes exactly four months after former coach Stephen Constantine called it quits following India’s disappointing loss against Bahrain in the group stage of the Asian Cup.
AIFF technical committee, led by former footballer Shyam Thapa interviewed four candidates and Stimac emerged as the front-runner due to his knowledge in Indian football and attractive presentation.
Stimac, who led Croatia into the World Cup in 2014, has a tough job in his hand. India are scheduled to play some important tournaments in the next few months and Stimac has to assemble the team quickly in order to produced results.
During his time, Constantine was often criticised for his questionable team selections. It’s true that he encouraged youngsters to play for the national team, but sometimes his decisions went against the expectations.
Stimac, having keenly shortlisted 36 footballers before giving his interview, may drop some players in order to get good results.
Sportskeeda analyses three players who could bear the brunt:
#3 Sumeet Passi
One of the controversial selections that former coach Stephen Constantine kept making during his second term was that of Sumeet Passi.
The forward somehow made it to the Asian Cup, which was played in the UAE in January. Passi’s selection not just baffled Indian football lovers but also earned Constantine severe criticism.
The selection was made at a time when Jobby Justin was in the form of his life with East Bengal. India needed a proper striker who can play alongside Sunil Chhetri and there was no player better than the Keralite.
Yet, Constantine overlooked Justin and called Passi in the team. Passi failed to shine and was also criticised by the fans for his profligacy in front of the goal.
Passi was given the responsibility to score goals in the SAFF Cup in 2018 and scored three goals, including one in the final against Maldives. But it was not enough for India to clinch the title. Passi was never confident against teams that were much below India in the rankings.
In the Indian Super League too, he was largely off colour. Passi scored only two goals and lived under the shadow of their star striker Tim Cahill.
His position during the time of attack, consistency and goal scoring ability doesn’t match the requirements that Stimac would want as the coach.
So, in all probability, Passi could be dropped from the upcoming tournaments and Justin should ideally earn his first national team call-up.