Take team to Asian Cup quarters or face axe: AIFF sets new contract clause for coach Igor Stimac

If that target is achieved, then Igor Stimac’s contract will automatically be extended to another competition whichever is the priority for AIFF.

Press Trust of India September 19, 2022 20:14:08 IST
Take team to Asian Cup quarters or face axe: AIFF sets new contract clause for coach Igor Stimac

It is understood that AIFF doesn't want to continue with Stimac beyond Asia Cup. Igor Stimac/ Twitter

Kolkata: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has offered a fresh contract to head Coach Igor Stimac with a rider — guide the men’s team to the Asian Cup quarter-final or face the axe.

The former Croatian World Cupper is currently in Kolkata, where the national team is camping for its Vietnam trip and the AIFF bigwigs are expected to discuss the modalities of the contract with him once the trip is over.

The decision was taken here during the second Executive Committee (EC) meeting of the AIFF’s new dispensation headed by Kalyan Chaubey and secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran.

“The technical committee headed by IM Vijayan yesterday decided to renew his contract till the Asian Cup and it was approved by the EC today,” Prabhakaran told reporters here on Monday.

“The performance target is to be top-eight in the competition. If that target is achieved, then automatically the contract will be extended to another competition whichever is the priority for AIFF,” he added.

It is understood that AIFF doesn’t want to continue with Stimac beyond Asia Cup or else such a target wouldn’t have been given, knowing the performance graph of the national team in the continental event over the years.

The benchmark for the Croatian former World Cupper may seem to be a bit high but Prabhakaran said it was “the technical committee’s decision and is endorsed by the executive committee.”

Sunil Chhetri-led India qualified for the fifth time overall, by finishing as group D winners in the third round. This marked their first-ever successive Asian Cup qualification earlier this year.

As a matter of fact, barring 1964 when it was a four-team competition, the Blue Tigers, who are ranked 104th in the world and 19th in Asia, never progressed beyond the group stage at the Asian Cup.

Stimac-coached India will embark on a Vietnam tour on Tuesday for two friendly games against Singapore and the hosts on 24 and 27 September respectively.

Asked whether Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban’s former teammate would accept such a contract, Prabhakaran replied: “We don’t want to disturb him now, his focus should be on the team. Let him come back, then we will have a discussion with him.”

Padma nominations for Shabbir Ali, Arun Ghosh, and Vijayan

The EC also confirmed that they will be nominating former players Shabbir Ali, Vijayan, and Arun Ghosh for Padma Shri, while Manoranajan Bhattacharya, who is also a technical committee member, will be nominated for the Dhyan Chand.

“Jeje Lalpekhlua has been recommended for the Arjuna Award. EC approved unanimously their nominations for the National Awards,” he added.

The AIFF executive committee also accepted the recommendation to discontinue their development side, Indian Arrows, and instead create an elite youth league using the fund.

“The men’s Indian Arrows team will be discontinued and will not hence be participating in the I-League. The investment would be diverted to creating a new elite youth league which was again approved by the EC. The idea is to invest in youth so as to have a better national team going forward,” Prabhakaran said.

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