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Igor Stimac, Former Croatia Manager, Set to be Announced as Indian Football Coach

After interviewing a shortlist of candidates, the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF’s) technical committee has recommended Igor Stimac’s name to the executive committee for final approval.
Former Croatia football team player and coach Igor Stimac

Igor Stimac coached Croatia national football team from 2012 to 2014 and, as a player, he was part of the side which finished third at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF’s) technical committee has recommended Igor Stimac as India's next men’s national team coach. The executive committee of the federation will now take the final call on the appointment of the Croatian.

“We have forwarded Stimac’s name as the new coach. It is now up to the executive committee to take a final call,” a member of the technical committee was quoted by IANS.

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Stimac, who coached the Croatian national team from 2012 to 2014, was finalised after a four-hour meeting of the committee at the AIFF headquarters in New Delhi on May 9. Once the appointment is finalised, the former defender is expected to take over the reigns of the team immediately since the Indian football team is set to play in the King’s Cup in Thailand from June 5.

According to sources, the technical committee had a tough debate while discussing Stimac and Spaniard Albert Roca, who was the other frontrunner in the race. As per reports, the chairman of the technical committee, Shyam Thapa, was in favour of the Croatian, but Roca too had supporters in the mix.

“Most of the former footballers in the committee spoke for Stimac. However, at least one non-technical person, who was present in the meeting felt Roca should be a more suitable choice because of his previous experience in India. Roca had been the Bengaluru FC coach for two seasons,” the AIFF source added.

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Stimac has held the position of a national coach before, having been at the helm of Croatia, leading them through a successful qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was also part of the side that finished third in the 1998 edition of the World Cup. These factors tilted the scales in Stimac’s favour.

Known for a defensive style of football, Stimac also has experience as coach of clubs in Iran (Sepahan) and Qatar (Al Shahania). In terms of precedent though, Indians would do well to look away from his records at those two clubs where he stepped away after a season due to a decline in results. In his last job as coach of Al Shahania (December 2016 to May 2017) Stimac managed just one win from 11 matches played.

Stimac was the only candidate who appeared in person for the interview, the others were contacted via video conference. Newly appointed Technical Director, Doru Isac was present during the interviews.

South Korea’s Lee Ming-sung and Switzerland’s Hakan Ericson were the other candidates in the fray. Newsclick will be covering this developing story closely, both on our website and Indian football chat show 420 Grams. Watch this space for updates.

(With inputs from IANS)

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