The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Techinical Committee interviewed candidates for the Indian national team job and forwarded Igor Stimac's name for the post, snubbing former Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca.
India are close to appointing a coach a full 115 days after Stephen Constantine announced his resignation following India's dismal performance in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
In those 115 days, India missed out on playing friendlies in the March international window and participated in the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers with a temporary coach, who failed to guide the team to the next stage.
The first task for the new coach would be to steer India to victory in the 2019 King's Cup in Thailand. The four-day tournament begins on June 5, where the Blue Tigers will play two international matches.
The Technical Committee opted for Stimac ahead of Roca as the Croatian was personally present in New Delhi for his interview. Moreover, Stimac's salary of $25,000 was at least $10,000 lesser than Roca's. The other candidates in the fray were Sweden's Hakan Ericson, and South Korea's Lee Sung-min.
In this article, we present 3 reasons why Roca would have been the right man for the job.
#3 Comes from a Spanish background
Right from the first season of ISL when Antonio Lopez Habas led ATK to the 2014 ISL triumph, India has seen a major overhaul in the style of play and tactics deployed. The Spanish style of play where the team holds the ball, passes it around, and spreads out the opponents to hit them has worked wonders.
In the 2018-19 season of the ISL, 4 of the 10 managers were Spanish including the finalists, Bengaluru FC and FC Goa. Even in the I-League, the runners-up East Bengal had Spanish personnel and winners Chennai City FC had five foreigners in the ranks and played out from the back.
Fans were annoyed when Stephen Constantine helmed India because he deployed the long ball tactic and over-relied on Sunil Chhetri when there were players in the country who could pass it around and play a brilliant attacking brand of football.
Coming from the La Masia background and having been the conditioning coach, as well as the assistant coach of Barcelona in some matches, Albert Roca knows how to bring the best out of the Indian players by playing the brand of football the country requires. His experience in Spain would have been an invaluable asset for the team.