New Delhi, May 9: Croatia's Igor Stimac is the front-runner to be the next coach of the Indian men's football team when the national federation (AIFF) officials meet in New Delhi on Thursday (May 9).
The technical committee of AIFF, headed by former India international Shyam Thapa, will interview the short-listed candidates next at 2 PM on Thursday (May 9) at the Football House in New Delhi.
The AIFF's technical committee has short-listed four candidates, including two-time South Korean World Cupper Lee Min-sung and the familiar Albert Roca, for the job of the chief coach of the men's national team.
Besides Lee Min-sung and Roca, who tasted immense success at Bengaluru FC, the other two aspirants in the fray are ex-Croatia national team manager Igor Stimac and former Sweden coach Hakan Ericson.
Thapa said after interviewing the probable candidates, the technical committee will forward the name of the selected candidate to the AIFF's executive committee.
"It will again be in the form of interviews on skype and then the most suitable name will be forwarded to the federation's executive committee with recommendations. The executive committee will take then take the final call," Thapa had told PTI.
The position has been lying vacant after Stephen Constantine quit the post following India's AFC Asian Cup campaign earlier this year.
Owing to the Indian team's spirited showing in the AFC Asian Cup and a run of 13-match unbeaten streak prior to that, more than 250 candidates, including some top names from Europe, have applied for the job since Stephen Constantine resigned.
The list included the likes of France's World Cup winning coach Raymond Domenech, former England managers Sven-Goran Eriksson and Sam Allardyce.
These are pro-licence holders with national team experience in major global events like the World Cup, and their salary was a major issue of deliberation in the first meeting of the technical committee, when it scrutinised around 40 candidates for the vacant post.
As a coach, Stimac was in charge of the Croatian national team from 2012 to 2013.
In club football, the former centre back has had brief spells in charge of Hajduk Split, Cibalia, NK Zagreb and Zadar, Iranian club Sepahan and Qatari club Al-Shahania.
Factors like cost, the applicant's familiarity with Asian football, as well as their ability to contribute to grassroots development will be taken into consideration while appointing the coach.
The Indian team is scheduled to play matches in the Kings Cup on June 5 and June 8, and a preparatory national camp will be held under the new coach in the third week of May. The Kings Cup will be the new coach's first assignment.