India football team coach Stephen Constantine’s contract extended till 2019 Asian Cup
The technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has unanimously recommended an extension for Stephen Constantine till the end of the 2019 Asian Cup finals.
Under Constantine, India have been unbeaten in their last 13 games and have reached a 24-year high of 96 in the Fifa rankings on way to qualifying for the continent’s biggest competition.
“We decided to let Constantine continue till the end of the Asian Cup,” said technical committee chairman Shyam Thapa here on Wednesday. Thapa, 70, was a member of the 1970 Asian Games squad that won bronze.
“It is now for the federation’s executive committee to ratify the decision. That can happen through a circular and without a meeting being called,” said Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary.
If there is a sticking point it is whether Constantine, 55, would get a raise, his first since joining in 2015. The Anglo-Cypriot gets $20,000 (approximately Rs 12.84 lakh) per month, an AIFF official said requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media. He wasn’t given a hike in 2016 when the contract was extended till the end of the Asian Cup qualifiers next month.
Now in England to get his passport renewed, Constantine didn’t reply to an email from Hindustan Times. “But he has never spoken about a raise,” said another AIFF official who dealt with the head coach regularly. The official too didn’t want to be named given the sensitive nature of the issue.
The AIFF may not give the players and the coaching staff bonuses for qualifying for the Asian Cup finals because the competition got expanded from to 24 teams from 16. But it is possible that performance-linked bonuses would be factored into Constantine’s new deal that will last till February 2019. The Asian Cup finals are scheduled in the UAE from January 5 to February 1.
An extension till the end of the I-League was also recommended for Indian Arrows’ coach Luis Norton de Matos. The Portuguese, who helmed India’s campaign in the under-17 World Cup, also gave a presentation to the committee which met here.
“The Arrows are here to stay and Matos’s presentation today revolved around the team and also the India U-17 side. A plan to bring in new recruits to the national youth team (2000/01 batch) was discussed,” said former international Henry Menezes, Thapa’s deputy in the committee.