Indian National Team Coach Stephen Constantine signs contract extension with AIFF

Ajith Namboothiri
The London-born coach will remain at the helm of the national team until May 2018...

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has managed to secure Stephen Constantine's services for another year as the head coach of the Indian National Football Team, Goal understands.

Constantine, who is in his second spell as India coach, on Friday signed a fourteen-month extension to his existing contract which ends in March 2017. Now, the Briton would see out India's AFC Asian Cup third round qualification in full, which will run till March 2018.

AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das, had stated earlier that their vision is to see India qualify for the Asian Cup in 2019 and Constantine would be tasked with exactly that.

The draw for the 24 nation group stages take place on 23rd January and India will have six games to qualify from their four-team group. The first match-day is on 28th March 2017.

After his three-year stint in 2002-2005, Constantine has had a better second spell where he has supervised India's rise to 129th in the latest FIFA rankings. During this period, India have won nine games, drawn two and lost seven. Constantine also saw India regain the SAFF Championship title in early 2016.

However, there is still some debate as to who would assist the former Rwanda coach. Lee Taylor's (India Under-19 and India assistant coach) contract ends in February and he had expressed his desire to move to pastures anew.

There have been calls to have an Indian as an assistant but Constantine had earlier suggested that he would not pressurise former India captain Shanmugham Venkatesh - who already acts as the team manager -  to take on that responsibility.

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