Reports: Senior players want India coach Stephen Constantine to be sacked
This is a surprising turn of events.
What's the story?
In a big breaking news for Indian football, the senior team members want coach Stephen Constantine to be replaced before the 2019 Asian Cup, according to a report in the Telegraph India. It is believed that many of India's top players are dissatisfied with the Englishman's management and reportedly feel that he is tactically inept to lead the Indian side.
According to the report, players also met general secretary Kushal Das to discuss the issue. Das, however, refused to divulge any information on the issue. "I do meet players, coaches and officials regularly on various issues. I am in no position to discuss such things," Das was quoted as saying in an expectedly diplomatic way.
In case you didn't know...
Under Constantine's management, India have reached the Asian Cup through qualification for the first time since 2011. He joined the Indian national team in February 2016 and has taken this team from a lowly FIFA ranking of 173 to a place in the top 100 for the first time in over 20 years. The Indian team is also currently unbeaten in their last 11 matches.
The heart of the matter
Amidst such a good run, this news of turmoil in the Indian camp over the manager is a surprising one. It is believed that this issue was discussed in the AIFF's general meet last month but no consensus was found to sack Constantine. Sources reveal that the players are miffed with the manager's trait of hogging the limelight and seldom giving players the due credit.
The majority of the squad feel that his authoritative nature coupled with his strict, disciplined training regimes are not helpful for the betterment of the squad. Constantine's tactical know-how has also been questioned by the players who want a better strategist at the helm.
The senior players of the squad are now set to meet AIFF president Praful Patel to convey their demands and do the needful.
Constantine's traditional methods have often been criticized for his strategies and formations being absurd. But the timing of this demand from the players is a bit off when the national team currently being in good form leading to the Asian Cup. The AIFF is not known to take bold steps and may not heed players' request to sack their trusted man.