Following a string of disappointing results under him, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided not to extend chief coach Wim Koevermans contract after it expires on October 31. Instead, the Dutchman will be offered the role of AIFF technical director, sources said on Thursday.
The AIFF’s executive committee met in Mumbai on the sidelines of Indian Super League’s launch and it was decided that another foreign coach should be appointed as Koevermans’ successor. It is learnt that Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira’s name was proposed to take over the reigns from Koevermans but AIFF president Praful Patel vetoed the suggestion, insisting on a foreign hand.
Koevermans, meanwhile, will be urged to continue working in India with the federation keen to offer him the role of the successor to compatriot Rob Baan. The AIFF believes that Koevermans, who was the high performance director of Ireland before he came to India, can add more value in a similar role.
“There is no doubt that Wim is one of the most technically superior coaches we have had. But for some reason, the results of the national team under him haven’t been encouraging and the federation believes he should be replaced as the chief coach,” a source said. “At the same time, they are keen to use his expertise in areas such as youth development and implementing coaching programmes.”
Interestingly, Koevermans has also been offered the same role by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). So it will be for him to choose whether to carry on working in India or take up a bigger challenge with the AFC. The AIFF will hold talks with Koevermans once India’s campaign at the Incheon Asian Games ends.
Koevermans, 54, has come under heavy criticism for his tactics and team selection. While he inherited a team that was under transition, India’s fortunes have plunged to newer depths during his three-year term. Not only have India failed to notch up a memorable win, their regional dominance too is on the wane after losing to Pakistan and Nepal recently while narrowly escaping defeat against Bangladesh.
In fact, the loss against Pakistan in Bangalore last week has forced the Sports Authority of India to withdraw the team’s name from the Asian Games. The final decision on the issue will be taken by the sports minister next week.