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Indian Football: Croatian Igor Stimac to be appointed head coach of National Team; Albert Roca misses out

  • Igor Stimac fills the gap left by the departure of Englishman Stephen Constantine, beating off competition from Albert Roca. #IndianFootball
Modified 09 May 2019, 19:43 IST
Stimac's first assignment will be the King's Cup in Thailand next month

The All India Football Federation (AIFF)'s Technical Committee on Thursday finalised the appointment of Croatian Igor Stimac as the head coach of the Indian Senior Men's National Team.

The technical committee forwarded the proposal to the AIFF Executive Committee, which is expected to make the announcement in a day or two.

The former Croatian National Team Head Coach, was appointed after the AIFF Technical Committee conducted interviews of the four shortlisted candidates - which included former Bengaluru FC head coach Albert Roca, Swede Hakan Ericson, and Korean Lee Min-Sung.

All India Football Federation Technical Director Isac Doru, Vice-Chairman Henry Menezes, Prasanta Banerjee, Pradip Datta, GP Palguna, and Sundar Raman also attended the meeting. Ishfaq Ahmed was granted leave of absence.

Besides, All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das, and Director of National Teams, Abhishek Yadav, were present as ex-officio members.

Stimac will fill the gap left by the departure of Englishman Stephen Constantine, who left his role after India crashed out in the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, in the UAE. 

An AIFF source said the tilting factor was the budget, with Stimac's reported monthly salary being around $25,000, as opposed to the $35,000 that was demanded by Roca.

The source also said the AIFF was impressed by Stimac's presence in person for the interview in New Delhi, and that his vision and plan for Indian Football was something that dovetailed with the Federation's. 

Indian Football - New Head Coach's Record


Based on his recent managerial record, this is a massive gamble by the AIFF. His last role as a head coach was with Iranian club Sepahan, where he took over in November 2015. By April 2016, his position at the club had become untenable, as they found themselves 11th in the league table, and knocked out of the domestic cup and the AFC Champions League.

His most high-profile job was as the head coach of Croatia, for whom he took over after Euro 2012, after Slaven Bilic's departure. The qualification to the 2014 FIFA World Cup was a rocky ride for Croatia.

Under Stimac, there were a series of underwhelming performances, which led to the public turning on him, too. In the end, Croatia scraped through to the playoffs, but Stimac tendered his resignation even before the playoffs - through which they were taken by current Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac.

Since his Croatian championship victory with Hajduk Split in 2004-05, Stimac has had very underwhelming runs wherever he's gone, with stints not lasting more than a year at all of Zadar in the Croatian league, Sepahan and the Croatian national team.

Stimac's first assignment with the National Team will be at the King's Cup in Thailand next month, when the Blue Tigers open their campaign on June 5th, against higher-ranked Curacao.

The hosts and Vietnam are the other two teams competing in the tournament. July will see the staging of the AIFF Intercontinental Cup, which will act as preparation ahead of India's 2022 World Cup Qualifying Campaign, which is slated to begin in September.

Published 09 May 2019, 18:04 IST
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