Former Croatia international Igor Stimac has been appointed as the new coach of the Indian men’s national team, after the AIFF's (All India Football Federation) Executive Commitee ratified the recommendation by the Technical Committee.
Stimac, who coached Croatia previously in a 15-month spell, will now succeed Stephen Constantine and has been signed on a two-year-contract.
"We have chosen Croatian Igor Stimac from the interviews. Every committee member and AIFF members questioned him and got a satisfactory reply. His preparation for Indian football is impressive. He has knowledge about the country. He is good so we all have decided to appoint him as the new head coach.
"The other candidates were also good. Swedish coach Hakan Ericson was also impressive. We also spoke with Albert Roca. We ultimately found Igor to be the best candidate out of these four," said Shyam Thapa, chairman of Technical Committee, had told Goal last Thursday.Stimac, Albert Roca, Lee Ming-sung and Hakan Ericson had been the four final candidates shortlisted for the job by the AIFF after an extensive search with the Croatian emerging the winner after the interviews were conducted.
The 51-year-old had previously taken charge of the Croatian national team in July, 2012 before resigning from his role in October, 2013. During his spell in charge of Croatia, Stimac guided the team to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying play-offs.
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.
The former Croatia international had stints in England with Derby and West Ham as a player and went on to gain cult status at the former.