AIFF to Take Decision on Igor Stimac After Executive Committee Meeting on September 18

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The fate of Indian men’s senior team head coach Igor Stimac will be known after the September 18 meeting of the All India Football Federation’s executive committee, new president Kalyan Chaubey told PTI on Saturday.

Stimac’s existing contract ends in September. After guiding the national team to the 2023 Asia Cup with a dominant show in the qualifiers in June, Stimac had expressed his desire for the AIFF to take a call on his contract quickly.

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At that time, the AIFF was being run by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA).

Chaubey said the technical committee, appointed on Saturday with the legendary I M Vijayan as its head, will submit a report of the performance of the national team under Stimac, and the new executive committee will take a decision on whether the Croatian coach will continue or not.

“The members of the technical committee have wide knowledge about Indian football, they have had very good football careers having played at the highest level and for India.

“The technical committee will prepare a report based on the performance of the national team and submit it on September 18. The executive committee will discuss the report and take a decision on Stimac,” Chaubey said in an interview.

The new executive committee of the AIFF is expected to meet on September 18 in Kolkata.

Stimac, a part of Croatia’s 1998 World Cup third-place finishing team, was appointed as India head coach in May 2019 on a two-year contract. His tenure was extended till September 2021 before another one-year extension till September 2022.

If Stimac is given another extension or new contract on September 18, he will straightaway head to Vietnam for the Indian team’s two international friendly matches there. India are scheduled to play against Singapore on September 24 before taking on Vietnam on September 27 in Ho Chi Minh City.

These two matches, which fall on the FIFA window (September 19 to 27), were under a cloud earlier as Vietnam developed second thoughts about hosting India due to the FIFA ban.

“The matches (in Vietnam) are on,” Sunando Dhar, who was on Saturday appointed deputy secretary general, said.

“When India was under suspension by FIFA, Vietnam association said they can’t host India. But after the suspension was lifted, their secretary called me up and said they will be happy to host India,” said Dhar who was in charge of the AIFF till the elections as acting general secretary.

Chaubey, who has been in the senior India squad during his playing days, said the senior national team can have an Indian at the helm.

Asked about his opinion regarding the long-standing debate over whether Indians should take charge of the national teams, Chaubey said, “I don’t want to see the issue as Indian coaches versus foreign coaches.

“But just as multinational companies like Google, Microsoft now have Indians at the helm, why not have Indian football coaches. Definitely, we can have (Indian coaches) for senior national teams but we have to see it samay ke saath (with the passage of time).”

When asked whether there will be frequent meetings of the technical committee to take stock of the performance of the national teams, he said, “You will come to know as we move ahead.”

He also said the Santosh Trophy national football tournament will be held in a better way.

Asked about the Indian Super League matches being held at a time when the country will be hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in October, he said, “We will look into the matter. But we have decided to hold back Santosh Trophy for a while so that we can stage it in a better way.”

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