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Coach Igor Stimac could get extension till September

The AIFF's technical committee could recommend an extension of national team coach Igor Stimac's contract till the playoffs of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in September

I-League Igor Stimac Bidyashagar Singh

Indian national team head coach Igor Stimac (Source: AIFF)



Updated: 25 May 2021 12:07 PM GMT

The All India Football Federation's technical committee could recommend an extension of national team coach Igor Stimac's contract till the playoffs of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in September. The Croatian World Cupper's contract is up for renewal, having served his two-year tenure after being appointed to the top job in May 2019. The AIFF has summoned its technical committee for a meeting on Friday, when they will discuss a raft of issues, besides Stimac's future.

"The technical committee has been called on Friday and among other issues, it is likely to discuss Stimac's extension till September," a top AIFF source told PTI on Tuesday. One of the most high-profile coaches to manage the Indian men's national football team, Stimac was appointed to the top post in May 2019 for a two-year term, and has had mixed results since. While the team may have won just a solitary game in 12 outings under the former West Ham United defender, Stimac has given opportunities to many promising youngsters in the team with the freedom to express themselves on the field.

"The technical committee will discuss and decide on the contract extension of national team head coach Igor Stimac till the September FIFA window," another federation source said. The current contract of Stimac, who had coached Croatia to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, was valid till May 15. Stimac fielded as many as 10 fresh faces in an international friendly against hosts UAE in March, resulting in a 6-0 mauling for the Blue Tigers, just days after an impressive stalemate with Oman in Dubai.

It was a very bold move, one that surprised and shocked quite a few in the Indian football fraternity. Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia, however, recently backed Stimac to get an extended stint at the helm of affairs. The Indian football icon is of the view that Stimac has done reasonably well since taking over from Stephen Constantine. The technical committee will also be discussing at length the Indian women's team roadmap for the AFC Women's Asian Cup, which is slated to be held from January 20 to February 6, 2022.

The 2022 is a significant year for women's football in India with the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup also scheduled in the country from October 11 to 30. The U-17 World Cup was supposed to be held in 2020 but was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic The AIFF has charted a detailed plan with support from the Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India in its quest to help the women's team qualify for the 2027 World Cup. The committee will also look at the status of technical staff for age-group national teams. The Shyam Thapa-led technical committee meeting will be held via video conferencing.

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