Indian national football team head coach Stephen Constantine was close to getting sacked before the contract extension
AIFF was not too keen on extending the English manager's contract, but positive results over the years paid off for him.
What's the story?
Indian national football team head coach, Stephen Constantine was close to getting the sack before the AIFF Technical Committee decided to extend the Englishman's contract. The new contract will see him stay in the team until the end of the AFC Asian Cup next year, and he will become India's longest-serving head coach, provided he sees his contract through.
In case you didn't know.
Stephen Constantine is in his second term as the Indian football head coach after having coached the Blue Tigers earlier during 2002-2005. He returned back to India after a decade, having taken up a spell of coaching jobs across the world.
Under Constantine, India rose from its lowest FIFA ranking position of 173 to their second highest position ever and highest ever in recent times - 96, in July 2017.
The heart of the matter
Indian football head coach Stephen Constantine's contract extension in February did not go as smoothly as expected and he was on the verge of not being granted the extension.
A high ranking official within the AIFF has confirmed to Sportskeeda that before the meetings over the extension of Stephen Constantine's contract, the governing body was reluctant to offer an extension to the English head coach owing to a lack of change in the playing style of the Indian team.
However, the Indian team's favourable results over the last two years and a successful run in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers clinched it for Constantine. The Indian team's FIFA ranking also improved under Constantine and India maintained their spot in the top 15 countries in the Asian Football Confederation.
Considering these achievements and the record in his tenure, the AIFF Technical Committee granted Constantine a contract extension.
Stephen Constantine announced his 32-man probable squad for the preparatory camp in Mumbai for the final AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic.
Stephen Constantine has always received criticism from Indian football fans over his playing style. However, the team's run in the recent years has been a positive sign and the contract extension was inevitable for the 55-year-old English manager.