The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has offered a fresh contract to head coach Igor Stimac with a rider – guide the men’s team to Asian Cup quarterfinal or face the axe.
The former Croatian World Cupper is currently in Kolkata, where the national team is camping for its Vietnam trip and the AIFF bigwigs are expected to discuss the modalities of the contract with him once the trip is over.
However, when PTI contacted Stimac, he informed that he had said “yes” to the contract extension.
The decision was taken here during the second Executive Committee (EC) meeting of the AIFF’s new dispensation headed by Kalyan Chaubey and secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran.
“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,” Prabhakaran told reporters on Monday.
“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.
It is understood that AIFF doesn’t want to continue with Stimac beyond Asian Cup or else such a target wouldn’t have been given, knowing the performance graph of the national team in the continental event over the years.
The benchmark for the Croatian former World Cupper may seem to be a bit high but Prabhakaran said it was “the technical committee’s decision and is endorsed by the executive committee.”
Sunil Chhetri-led India qualified for the fifth time overall, by finishing as group D winners in the third round. This marked their first ever successive Asian Cup qualification earlier this year.
As a matter of fact, 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.
Stimac-coached India will embark on a Vietnam tour on Tuesday for two friendly games against Singapore and the hosts on September 24 and 27 respectively.
Asked whether the Davor Suker and Zvonimir Boban’s former teammate would accept such a contract, Prabhakaran replied: “We don’t want to disturb him now, his focus should be on the team. Let him come back, then we will have discussion with him.”