Bengaluru, May 15: : Croatia's Igor Stimac has been named as the new head coach of the Indian football team on a two-year contract.
He succeeds Englishman Stephen Constantine, who did not seek an extension after India's exit from the 2019 AFC Asian Cup group stages in January.
The Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed the Croat's appointment on Wednesday (May 15).
The 51-year-old had already emerged as the front-runner among four short-listed candidates, who were interviewed by former player and AIFF Technical Committee Chairman Shyam Thapa.
Stimac brings in a wealth of experience to the table with over 18 years in coaching, structuring, and developing the game players in Croatia, and internationally.
As a coach, Stimac's major achievement was helping Croatia to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Whlie being at the helm of his national team, he handed debuts to the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic, and Ivan Perisic, amongst others.
He also played a pivotal role in developing likes of Dario Srna, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Strinic, Kovacic, Perisic, and others.
His last job was with the Qatar Stars League club Al Shahania which ended in 2017.
As a player, he was part the of the Croatia national team which finished third in the FIFA World Cup in France, 1998, and also a member of the team which entered the quarterfinals of the 1996 Euro Cup held in England.
Besides, he was also a part of the erstwhile Yugoslavia Under-19 national team, which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Chile in 1987.
Stimac's first assignment will be the Kings Cup in Buriram, Thailand, where India play Curacao in their first match on June 5. That will be followed by the Intercontinental Cup in July as well as Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers that start in September.
AIFF President Praful Patel welcomed Stimac on board, "Igor (Stimac) is the right candidate to coach the Blue Tigers. I welcome him on board. Indian Football is going through a transition, and I'm confident his vast experience will guide us to higher echelons."
(Source: AIFF Media)