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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac set to be appointed Indian football team coach

Igor Stimac, a member of the Croatian team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup, has got the nod from the Technical Committee which interviewed four shortlisted candidates on Thursday.

football Updated: May 10, 2019 00:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
File image of Igor Stimac.
File image of Igor Stimac.(Getty Images)

Croatia’s Igor Stimac is set to be the most successful footballer ever to have coached the senior India team after the technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Thursday named the 1998 World Cup star as its choice to replace Stephen Constantine, who quit after the Asian Cup in January. To be ratified by the AIFF’s executive committee, the appointment is likely to be for three years.

“More than his credentials as a player which are impressive, it was how he convinced members of the technical committee that helped make up our minds. The new technical director (Romanian Doru Isac) too was happy with Stimac’s presentation and since it is important for the senior team head coach and the TD to be on the same wavelength, we recommended his name,” said Shyam Thapa over the phone from New Delhi.

Stimac, 51, is likely to be paid $25,000 a month, $3000 more than Constantine’s last pay cheque, according to an AIFF official. The former defender has 53 international caps and played in every match of the 1998 World Cup finals where Croatia finished third. He was also an integral part of the Croatia team in Euro ’96 where Croatia lost 1-2 to Germany in the quarter-finals; Stimac being shown the red card in the 56th minute. He had three stints with Croatia’s Hadjuk Split, played four years for Derby County and two seasons with West Ham.

Replacing former partner in defence Slaven Bilic in 2012, Stimac coached Croatia to the 2014 World Cup play-off round. He also coached Hadjuk Split to two league titles.

Stimac, who was present for the interview on Thursday, has asked for two friendlies before India open in the Kings Cup in Thailand against Curacao on June 5. The Caribbean nation is ranked 82nd to India’s 101.

The other shortlisted candidates — former Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca, Swede Hakan Ericson and Lee Min-sung, who has played two World Cup finals for South Korea — were interviewed over video calls. Min-sung exited the race early because he would need an interpreter, said a technical committee member. Roca fell out of favour because of his lack of international experience and because he wanted his people on the support staff, the member said. Ericson’s presentation was good but the committee felt Stimac’s was better, the member said.

First Published: May 09, 2019 18:55 IST

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