AIFF to reward Constantine with new contract

Constantine will be rewarded with a new contract for achieving the dual strategic objective of AIFF by qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 as well as by consistently achieving a top 15 FIFA ranking amongst Asian countries in the recent past.

File image of India national football team coach Stephen Constantine.   -  H. Vibu

Indian national football coach Stephen Constantine is expected to be at the helm till the AFC Asian Cup 2019, as per recommendation by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Technical Committee, reasoning that time is too short to expect results from a new coach.

According to the Technical Committee chairman Shyam Thapa, the new contract terms will be decided by the federation’s Executive Committee.

Constantine was on the money guiding India into the AFC Cup second round. The national team is ranked 14th among Asian countries (ranked 102 in the world). Thapa, the famous India striker, said: “After a long time, in rankings and results, India moved into the next level in the Asian competition. The coach should get the credit, of course with hard work from players.”

He added: “We recommended renewal of his contract till the tournament concludes."

Constantine had asked for an increase in contract money, an issue Thapa said will be decided by the (AIFF) Executive Committee based on his offer. The contract terms we did not discuss, we discussed only renewal part.” He is reportedly paid $20,000 a month.

Henry Menezes, the deputy chairman of Technical Committee, clarified that there were no ground to defer the contract renewal. “Our recommendation is based on objectives, in terms of ranking in Asia (within first 15 nations) and qualification (AFC Cup second round). There is no reason for us to hold back,” he said, after a meeting at the Cooperage ground.

Asked about complaints from certain players against the coach’s style of functioning, Thapa explained that no player had brought differences with the national coach to their notice. “Differences (between coach and players) is part of the team sometimes. There are always players not getting a chance and upset at sitting out. No player approached us so far.”

Constantine’s continuation post-AFC Cup will be results-based, pointed out Menezes. “Performance will decide, he may also want to move on.” Thapa pointed out.

“Time for a new coach to come in and work with players is short. Stephen knows the ability of those under him, new names may also come up in the Indian Super League or I-League.”

The latter had a contract extension in 2016, his second stint with the Indian team. India won 11 games, drew two under his tutelage.

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