KOLKATA: Igor Stimac is all set to manage Sunil Chhetri and Co. in next year’s Asian Cup. The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) new technical committee recommended on Sunday that the former Croatian world cupper’s tenure as head coach of the senior national team be extended up to the continental showpiece next year.
In another significant move, the IM Vijayan-led committee also suggested that Indian Arrows’ participation in the I-League should be discontinued because of the difficulty in fulfilling the AFC Licensing criteria.
The AIFF executive committee, which will sit here on Monday, is expected to put its formal approval on these recommendations. This will be Stimac’s third contract extension since he took charge of the national team in May 2019. The coach is currently in the city, guiding the side in its preparations for India’s upcoming friendlies against Vietnam and Singapore.
The move to keep him in charge of the team came close on the heels of his meeting with AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey. Soon after Stimac guided India to the main round of Asian Cup in June here, he set conditions for continuing as coach, stressing that the national team players must spend more time together and calling for changes in domestic football.
It now seems that the new AIFF dispensation is in favour of overhauling the domestic structure. As part of this exercise, the federation has decided to withdraw Indian Arrows’ participation from the I-League.


Money, used for nurturing and promoting what has been known as the AIFF’s development side will now be invested in creating a new Elite Youth League in the country.
While Stimac will remain the head coach, Indian football is set to go ‘desi’ under the presidentship of Chaubey.
It has been decided that domestic coaches will now be employed in every age group, so that they can play “a vital role” in taking Indian football forward.
“The AIFF’s new regime is in favour of bringing more Indians into the game’s domestic pyramid. There are a number of licensed coaches in India and they will be employed,” said a source.
It has also been learnt that more women coaches will be involved in the new administration’s push for developing women’s football. However, following India women team’s recent exit from the SAFF championship after losing to Nepal in the semifinal, its coaching management team could be overhauled.
“We had an extremely fruitful meeting,” Vijayan later said. Former India defender and captain Manoranjan Bhattacharya, who was initially reluctant to join the technical committee, has been made its deputy chairman.
Former players Climax Lawrence, Harjinder Singh, Arun Malhotra and Eugeneson Lyngdoh were present in Sunday’s meeting at a city hotel.

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