National men’s team coach Igor Stimac’s contract has been extended till September 2022 keeping in mind the qualification of the Asian Cup, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced on Monday. It was proposed by the AIFF Technical Committee headed by former Indian international Shyam Thapa.
“The committee deliberated extensively and reached a consensus, taking into account the external factors that have had a great impact on the world of football in general, and the national team to qualify for the AFC Cup China 2023. Ready to start your campaign in Prayas. Head coach Igor Stimac will be given a contract extension till September 2022,” the AIFF said in a statement.
The AFC Asian Cup qualifiers are to be played from February to September next year. One of the most celebrated coaches to have led the Indian men’s national football team, Stimac was appointed at the top position in May 2019 for a two-year stint and has had mixed results since then.
Igor Stimac, who coached Croatia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, had his previous contract valid until September after receiving an extension on 15 May. Although the team hasn’t won many games under the former West Ham United defender, Stimac has provided opportunities for the team’s many promising youngsters with the freedom to express themselves on the field. Croatia was responsible for the team’s 2022 and 2023 AFC Asian Cup World Cup qualifiers in which they were relegated to Group E.
Although they could not advance to the next round of the World Cup Qualifiers, India finished third in the group with seven points to make it to the third round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers. Thapa, chairman of the technical committee, asked Stimac to “come up with a detailed long-term plan to bring Indian football together”. AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and the federation’s interim technical director Savio Madeira were also present in the meeting.