‘Guide Men’s Team to Asia Cup Quarter-Final or Face the Axe’ – AIFF’s Fresh Contract to Igor Stimac

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has offered a fresh contract to head coach Igor Stimac with a clear instruction to guide the men’s team to the Asian Cup quarter-final or face the axe.

The AIFF top officials are likely to discuss the nuances of the contract with former Croatian World Cup winner who is currently in Kolkata, where the national team is camping for its Vietnam trip.  The officials are expected to take on the discussions further once the trip is over.

However, the decision to hand over a fresh contract was taken during the second Executive Committee (EC) meeting of the AIFF’s new dispensation headed by Kalyan Chaubey and secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran.

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Prabhakaran said, “The technical committee headed by IM Vijayan yesterday decided to renew his contract till the Asian Cup and it was approved by the EC today.”

”The performance target is to be top-eight in the competition. If that target is achieved, then automatically the contract will be extended to another competition whichever is the priority for AIFF,” he added.

According to the contract it is understood that AIFF doesn’t want to continue with Stimac beyond Asia Cup as if they wanted then they wouldn’t have given him such a target.

However, while explaining the purpose of such a contract, Prabhakaran said it was ”the technical committee’s decision and is endorsed by the executive committee.”

Earlier this year, Sunil Chhetri-led India qualified for the fifth time overall, by finishing as group D winners in the third round which marked their first-ever successive Asian Cup qualification.

It is to be noted that, barring 1964 when it was a four-team competition, the Blue Tigers, who are ranked 104th in the world and 19th in Asia, never progressed beyond the group stage at the Asian Cup. And that’s where the new contract guidelines come from.

So far there hasn’t been any comment from Stimac on the same and when Prabhakaran was asked whether the Croatian would accept such a contract, he replied: ”We don’t want to disturb him now, his focus should be on the team. Let him come back, then we will have a discussion with him.”

Stimac-coached India will take off for their Vietnam tour on Tuesday for two friendly games against Singapore and the hosts on September 24 and 27 respectively.

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