AIFF technical panel shortlists Constantine, Herbert for top post | sports | Hindustan Times
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AIFF technical panel shortlists Constantine, Herbert for top post

Seeking a national team coach on a decent budget, the All India Football Federation’s technical committee on Sunday shortlisted Englishman Stephen Constantine and New Zealander Ricki Herbert.

sports Updated: Dec 21, 2014 23:41 IST
HT Correspondent

Seeking a national team coach on a decent budget, the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) technical committee on Sunday shortlisted Englishman Stephen Constantine and New Zealander Ricki Herbert.

The committee, headed by former India footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, met in Mumbai on Sunday to shortlist names who could replace Dutchman Wim Koevermans, who stepped down from the post earlier this year.

Constantine and Herbert have both been associated with Indian football previously. While Constantine was India coach from 2002 to 2005, Herbert held the reins of NorthEast United in the just-concluded Indian Super league.

The committee also recommended the name of Scotland’s Scott O’Donell for the post of technical director, which was previously held by Dutchman Robert Baans.

“Baans had recommended that whoever takes over as coach should know Indian football and should also have coached a team at the international level. Both Stephen and Ricki fulfil the criteria,” said Bhutia.

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“We are looking at a three-year contract. However, this time we are not looking to spend big on salary and would rather spend on game development,” Bhutia added. “We would speak to both and then decide on who gets the job in the next couple of days.”

It is learnt that the monthly salary of $25000 (Rs 15.8 lakh), which was commanded by Koevermans, has been reduced to around $20000 (Rs 12.6 lakh).

Constantine, 52, is credited with managing Nepal, India, Sudan and Malawi. He is currently the national team coach of Rwanda. Under Constantine, Rwanda have moved 22 places, from 90 to 68, in the Fifa rankings.

Fifty-three year old Herbert was instrumental in helping New Zealand qualify for the 2010 World Cup. The team later achieved a world ranking of 49 under his guidance.

Constantine and Herbert were in contention for the India top job along with Englishmen Ashley Westwood and Trevor Morgan, both of whom have coached I-League sides.

“The thing that went against Westwood and Morgan was their lack of international coaching experience,” said Bhutia.

Keeping in mind the under-17 World Cup, the committee has also commenced its search for a new coach for the youth side. “We have identified two Germans, Nicolai Adam and Bernard Lippert. We want a capable coach as the under-17 World Cup is a major priority,” said Bhutia.

The recommendations made by the technical committee will be ratified by the AIFF executive committee.

‘I-League, ISL should not be merged’

With the positive response generated by the ISL, discussions to merge the franchise-based league with the I-League have gathered momentum. However, Bhutia feels the leagues should remain separate. “In my opinion the league should not be merged. Such a move will destroy both leagues,” he said.

“I-League is the main national league. It is through the league that teams qualify for Asian tournaments. The AIFF also treats the I-League as its premier competition and I feel it should remain that way. I feel there are more positives if the two do not merge,” added Bhutia.