The technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) recommended the name of former Croatia international Igor Stimac to the executive committee for the position of head coach of the Indian national team.
Three other candidates were also shortlisted by the Indian FA - former South Korea U23 coach Lee Min-Sung, Swedish coach Hakan Ericson and former Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca - but the 51-year-old was deemed the fittest candidate to take over as India’s next coach.
The chairman of the AIFF technical committee is Shyam Thapa. Henry Menezes is the deputy chairman. The members are Pradip Dutta, Ishfaq Ahmed, Prosanto Banerjee, GP Palguna, Sundar Raman and Abhishek Yadav.
Speaking to Goal, a senior member of the AIFF technical committee explained why they opted for Stimac. He said, “(Igor) Stimac was the best fit with the most impressive credentials. He has played at the highest level both as a player and coach. He helped Croatia qualify for the 2014 World Cup and his preparation on Indian football has been very thorough. One of the things we also looked for was availability and Stimac was ready to start work straight away.
“Objective for Stimac is obviously the Asian Cup and World Cup qualifiers later this year where we are determined to put on a good show.”
He also mentioned the reason why the other three candidates were not selected. “I must say Hakan (Ericson) from Sweden was also a very impressive candidate for the job. Lee (Min-Sung) of Korea brought a lot to the table as well with two World cups. However, the only issue with Lee was the language barrier and his lack of proficiency in English.
“(Albert) Roca brought some impressive things to the table as well. Stimac though, was the overall best fit and a unanimous choice of the technical committee,” said the senior member.