Former Croatia international Igor Stimac is the new coach of the Indian men’s national team, after the AIFF's (All India Football Federation) Executive Committee ratified the decision to recommend him ofor the job by the Technical Committee, chaired by Shyam Thapa.
The 51-year-old had previously taken charge of the Croatian national team in 2012 before resigning from his role about an year later. During his spell in charge of Croatia, Stimac guided the team to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying play-offs.
"I am really happy to see Igor Stimac take over as the Indian coach. Hopefully the team continues its great run under his regime as well. I obviously haven’t played under him and am really excited and curious to learn from him. Given a chance, I would surely be able to prove my skills to him," Rai told Goal.
The 21-year old midfielder has appereared seven times in national colours and is expected to be present in the national camp for the upcoming King's Cup, which is set to start around May 20.
Apart from his national team coaching experience, Stimac has also won laurels at the club level. He led his hometown club Hadjuk Split to the Croatian First Football League title in 2004-05 while also taking the side all the way to the final in the Croatian Football Cup in the same year.
The former defender also has 53 caps as a player for Croatia between 1990 and 2002 and represented the national team during the 1998 World Cup in France. Stimac’s central defensive partnership with Slaven Bilic was crucial to Croatia’s dream run to the 1998 World Cup semi-final.