The Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation on Wednesday announced the appointment of Igor Stimac as the Head Coach of the Men’s Senior National Team Coach on a two-year contract. Speaking on the appointment, AIFF President Praful Patel said: “Igor is the right candidate to coach the Blue Tigers. I welcome him on board. Indian Football is going through a transition, and I am confident his vast experience will guide us to higher echelons.”
“His credentials as a coach, and experience as a player are sure to add immense value to the players, and the Indian Football ecosystem. The momentum gained needs to be sustained,” Kushal Das, AIFF General Secretary added.
The former Croatia international previous took his national side to the FIFA World Cup Brazil in 2014. Under his tenure, several key players were given their international starts including Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic, and Ivan Perisic. Stimac also played an important role in developing the likes of Dario Srna, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Strinic, Kovacic, Perisic, and other players.
READ | Who is Igor Stimac?
The former football was also part of the Croatia National squad which finished third in the FIFA World Cup France 1998, and a member of the Croatia National squad which qualified for the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship 1996 (Euro) in England. He was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 National Team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup Chile 1987.
Former India international Shyam Thapa and currently the Chairman of the Technical Committee, said: “All the members of the Technical Committee including the AIFF Technical Director Mr. Isac Doru were immensely impressed, and convinced about him being best suited for the job. He is a World Cupper, and has guided Croatia to World Cup as a coach. Who else could have been a better candidate? He also impressed us with his extensive research on Indian Football.”
Stimac’s first assignment will be the Kings Cup in Buriram, Thailand where the Blue Tigers will play against Curacao in their opening match on June 5.
The Indian Express had reported how Stimac walked into the interview room with a list of 36 players whom he intended to select if chosen as the new India coach. His meticulous research was enough for the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to choose him as Stephen Constantine’s successor, despite a mediocre recent track record.
Stimac, 51, was a defensive pillar of Croatia’s 1998 World Cup team, along with Slaven Bilic, and was regarded as one of the leaders of the legendary side, which finished third.