Igor Stimac appointed new India men's football team coach

The former Croatian international Igor Stimac will serve as the new Indian football team coach on a two-year period.

Igor Stimac was the manager during Croatia's 2014 World Cup qualifiers.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has appointed Igor Stimac as the head coach of the men’s senior national team coach on a two-year contract.

Stimac comes with an experience of over 18 years in coaching, structuring, and developing football and players in Croatia, and internationally.

As a coach, Stimac’s major achievement was guiding Croatia to the play-off of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. During his tenure as the national coach of Croatia, he handed national team debuts to the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic, and Ivan Perisic, amongst others.

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He also played a pivotal role in developing likes of Dario Srna, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Strinic, Kovacic, Perisic, and other players.

His last assignment was with Al-Shahania Club in Qatar.

As a player, he was part the 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.

Besides, he was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 national team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Chile, 1987.

Welcoming Stimac to Indian football, Praful Patel, President of AIFF 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.”

Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF felt “Indian football would benefit immensely under Stimac.”

“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,” Das said.

Shyam Thapa, a former India international player, also a member of the bronze-medal winning squad in the 1970 Asian Games, and currently the chairman of the Technical Committee mentioned that “Stimac’s recommendation was unanimous.”

“All the members of the Technical Committee including the AIFF Technical Director 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 quipped. “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 play Curacao in their first match on June 5.

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