Stephen Constantine plans to take India into FIFA top 100 with help of unique scouting system
India are currently at their lowest ever position in the Fifa world rankings, placed 173rd, but new coach Stephen Constantine aims to take India into the top 100 footballing nations for the first time since 1996, and has an unique scouting system in place to achieve that aim.
Constantine said, “I’m in the process of setting up a scouting network across all 29 states using my former India players as scouts. They understand the mentality of our system and we want to find players who fit the particular style and brand of play that suited us back then, and it didn’t do us any harm against Nepal.”
The 52-year-old Briton had managed India between 2002 and 2005, and oversaw the LG Cup triumph in Vietnam, India's first victory in a football tournament outside the subcontinent after 1974. He also led Rwanda up 22 positions from 90th to their highest ever position of 68th last year.
India have not been looking in the right places: Constantine
The former players Constantine mentions include current India assistant coach S Venkatesh – the 36-year-old C license coaching degree holder who was appointed to the post on virtue of proximity with Constantine – whose India career co-incided with Constantine’s.
His former wards also include Bhaichung Bhutia, Mahesh Gawli, Deepak Mandal, Samir Naik, Rennedy Singh and Abhishek Yadav – a generation of players who have been loyal servants of Indian football for the last decade.
“We are never going to be in this position again under my rule that’s for sure,” Constantine said about India’s current FIFA rank.
“I would like to break into the top 100 and I think we’ve got the talent in the country to do that, it’s just we haven’t been looking in the right places.”
Introducing methods never tried before in India: Constantine
India’s victory over Nepal in the first stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers has put them through to the second round, where they now face an eight-match group challenge – which will provide India an opportunity to test their strength against the top footballing nations in Asia.
Constantine, a member of FIFA’s elite panel of coaches, says that he already has some new training measures in place which have not been implemented in Indian football.
“We’ve brought in a sports scientist and video analysis, which we’ve never had before.
“They used to train once a day but with me they will train twice a day.”
Constantine, whose playing career in the US ended through injury aged 26, has earned the reputation of a problem-solver as coach – apart from his stints in India and Rwanda, Constantine has enjoyed success in rebuilding attempts in roles of national coach in Nepal, Malawi and Sudan.
The coach who was given a medal by the King of Nepal for his work as Nepal coach, will be hoping he can earn a similar degree of love and respect in his latest assignment.
“When you get called back it means you left something behind and I intend to leave something this time too”, said Constantine.