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Indian Football: New head coach to be decided next week; Albert Roca remains favourite

Albert Roca is the favourite to be the new head coach of the Indian National Team
Albert Roca is the favourite to be the new head coach of the Indian National Team
FEATURED COLUMNIST

After deciding on the new technical director for the Indian Men's Senior National Team, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Technical Committee will meet next week to decide on the new head coach for the team.

The position has been vacant since Englishman Stephen Constantine stepped down at the end of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, where India were knocked out in the group stages, following defeats to the UAE and Bahrain.

AIFF's Director of National Teams Abhishek Yadav, who is currently outside the country, will be in New Delhi next week to finalise the candidates and interview each of them individually, along with the Technical Committee.

The Technical Committee, headed by former India international Shyam Thapa, also consists of AIFF general secretary Kushal Das, Henry Menezes (Technical Committee Deputy Chairman), I-League CEO Sunanda Dhar and AIFF General Manager Swati Kothari.

Other members of the AIFF Technical Committee are Ishfaq Ahmed, Prosanto Banerjee, Pradip Datta, GP Palguna and Sundar Raman, who will all be present during the committee's selection process, along with Abhishek Yadav.

An AIFF source said the Technical Committee would like to interview each candidate face-to-face, as that would be ideal to discuss all terms, but admitted that might not be possible with most of the candidates, leaving them with no choice but to conduct a video conference.

There are ten candidates who will be interviewed by the Committee over the course of the next week, and it is believed that former Bengaluru FC head coach Albert Roca still remains the AIFF's overwhelming favourite to take the job.

The others who will be present for the interviews include NorthEast United FC manager Eelco Schattorie, former Albania head coach Gianni Di Biasi, and former China assistant manager Massimiliano Maddaloni.

The AIFF source said the head coach will need to work well with the new national team Technical Director, believed to be Romanian Doru Isac, with the AIFF expected to make that announcement shortly.

Isac fought off competition for that role from Georgian Gaioz Darsadze and Portuguese Jorge Castelo.

The Indian national team will be active during the months of June, July and September. Apart from playing the King's Cup in Thailand from June 5-8, India will also host the Intercontinental Cup in July. The Blue Tigers will then take part in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in September.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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