The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Monday re-appointed Swede Thomas Dennerby as the national women’s team head coach ahead of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2, even though its technical committee had recommended Gokulam Kerala’s Anthony Andrews.
On July 13, the technical committee of the AIFF under the legendary IM Vijayan as the chairman, had recommended Andrews, who guided Gokulam Kerala FC to back-to-back Indian Women’s League (IWL) titles in the last two seasons, to succeed Dennerby whose earlier contract had ended in March.
However, it is learnt that many players in the national team wanted Dennerby’s continuation and had requested the same from the AIFF.
Dennerby was in charge of the national team in the first round of Olympic qualifiers, against Kyrgyzstan on April 4 and 7 -- which India won -- before leaving.
He will now be at the helm again for the second round of the Olympic qualifiers in October.
Andrews will also remain in the set-up as he was named as the coach, while Maymol Rocky will be the assistant coach and Ronibala Chanu the goalkeeping coach.
A source said it is not mandatory for the AIFF to accept the recommendation of the technical committee.
The 27-year-old Andrews is among the youngest coaches in India to have an AFC ‘A’ License. Under his guidance, Gokulam Kerala won the IWL titles in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.
“The committee, after having a long discussion on appointing the head coach of the senior women’s national team, decided to recommend Anthony Andrews for the coveted post,” the AIFF had said in a release.
The current national team has many players from Gokulam, like captain Ashalata Devi, Grace Dangmei, Ranjana Chanu, Indumathi Kathiresan and Sandhiya Ranganathan.
The senior national women’s team will be playing the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 from October 26 to November 1, where it has been clubbed with Japan, Vietnam and Uzbekistan.
India are scheduled to play Japan on October 26, Vietnam on October 29 and Uzbekistan on November 1.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the third round from where the first two teams will make the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Other technical committee members include Pinky Bompal Magar, Climax Lawrence, Arun Malhotra, Harjinder Singh and Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
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