National football team coach Igor Stimac‘s tenure was on Friday extended till September by All India Football Federation’s technical committee, which appointed Savio Medeira as interim technical director in place of the outgoing Isac Doru. While Croatian World Cupper Stimac got extension, Doru did not get one after his contract expired around the same time as the Indian senior team head coach. “… The committee unanimously decided to extend national team head coach Igor Stimac’s contract till September 2021,” the AIFF said in a release after its technical committee’s virtual meeting.
One of the most high-profile coaches to manage the Indian men’s national football team, Stimac was appointed to the top post in May 2019 for a two-year term.
“…Meanwhile, Savio Medeira will take charge as AIFF’s interim technical director as approved by the committee,” the apex body said.
When contacted with a query about Doru, a federation source said his contract has not been extended. Stimac is in charge of the national team’s preparation in Doha for India’s forthcoming matches in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. The matches are slated to be played from June 3 onwards.
The contract of Stimac, who had coached Croatia to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, was valid till May 15. Already out of contention for a World Cup berth, India will face Asian champions Qatar on June 3 before taking on Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15) in their remaining group E matches, with an aim to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup in China.
The playoffs of the Asian Cup Qualifiers are scheduled to be held in September. AIFF general secretary Kushal Das “intimated the committee about the roadmap and status” of the team’s preparation for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in India from October 11-30 next year.
The AFC Women’s Asian Cup is also slated to be held in the country from January 20 to February 6, 2022.
“The committee reflected and mentioned about the current pandemic situation which prohibits any footballing activities to be held in India, and all future camps will kick off as and when the condition in India improves,” it added in the release.
Technical committee chairman Shyam Thapa, a former India international, could not join his colleagues owing to illness, leaving his deputy Henry Menezes to chair the meeting. Menezes lauded the AIFF’s effort to liaise with the Qatar Football Association to waive off a 10-day quarantine period in Doha, allowing the Indian players to start their practice sessions early.
Present in the meeting were Das, AIFF’s deputy general secretary Abhishek Yadav and Menezes among others. The committee will meet again in September to discuss the way forward.
Thapa was apprised about the decisions taken in the meeting and he individually spoke to members over the phone.
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