Stephen Constantine has accepted the offer to have his contract with the Indian nationall team extended beyond the AFC Asia Cup next year. The contract saga for Constantine has been a long drawn out with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the English-Cypriot at a difference over the salary. He is the highest earning foreign coach in India and with the contract extension has become a foreign manager with longest tenure in Indian football. His contract was due to expire in March 2018.
“After accepting my second contract extension with the All India Football Federation, I will have the longest tenure of any foreign coach in Indian history, with a total of seven years (2002 – 2005; 2015 – 2019),” wrote Constantine on his blog.
“I am of course immensely proud of that, and of our accomplishments in both stints. This time round, qualifying for the Asian Cup in 2019, winning the SAFF, and taking India to its highest ranking in modern history, 96 are all great achievements. I really could not have done this without the support of the AIFF, my staff and, of course, the players.”
In his second stint as India boss, he has led the team to a two-decade best of 96th in the FIFA Rankings. Currently India sit on 102nd position. During his tenure, India are on a 13-match unbeaten run stretching back to March, 2016. Of the 13 games, 11 have been wins.
Constantine also dwelled on the challenges ahead for the team. “It is going to be a tough season and hopefully an injury-free one as well. As we head into the start of this schedule in March we already have several players out with injury and or suspensions. We are going to need all hands on deck going forward. As always with me, it is the players that are willing to play for the team and do the work that interest me. We have shown over the last two years that the current group of players are fighters and will give everything in every game. The door is open to any Indian player who is willing to do the work, the job we need him to, in the National Team.”