Constantine steps down as India coach after Asian Cup exit

Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine has stepped down from the position after India's heart-breaking exit from the AFC Asian Cup.

Stephen Constantine.   -  AFP

Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine has stepped down from his position after the team's heart-breaking exit from the AFC Asian Cup on Monday.

The Blue Tigers crashed to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Bahrain after Jamal Rashed scored a 91st-minute penalty to crush India's hopes of a first-ever knockout stage qualification.

Constantine, whose contract would have ended on January 31, announced in the post-match press conference that he would not continue as India's coach.

This was the Englishman's second tenure as India's coach when he took up the job in 2015. He previously served as the boss between 2002 and 2005. The combined seven years makes him the longest-serving foreign manager for the Indian team.

"I'm stepping down after this game. I have been here for four years. My objective from day one was to qualify for the Asian Cup. I've done that and we have broken a few records. I'm exceptionally proud of the players for everything they've given.

"I have to thank the AIFF, in particular, Kushal Das, Praful Patel and Subrata Dutta because the support they have given me in the last four years is huge. I think my cycle is finished, I did what I was asked and quite a bit more. It's time for me to move on," said Constantine at the post-match conference.

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