BREAKING: Igor Stimac becomes head coach of India
by Shubham Sharma
New Delhi: Former Croatia National Team manager Igor Stimac has been appointed as the head coach of the Indian national football team.
Shyam Thapa-led AIFF Technical Committee interviewed all the four candidates in the race to take up the spot- Hakan Eriksson, Albert Roca, Lee Min-Sung and Stimac, after which they sent their recommendation to the executive committee.
The Croatian who was a defender in his playing years, went on to start his managerial career with local club Hadjuk Split and then coached NK Zagreb. He then took over as the coach of Croatian national team in 2012 but the team only managed to qualify for the World Cup through playoff after the team finished second in their group behind Belgium.
He later resigned after the team lost to Switzerland 1-0 in a group game. Despite his lacklustre spell as Croatia boss, Stimac has always been held in high regard and players like Luca Modric had pleaded him to stay and not resign.
"He is a very good coach, it is not easy for him to pick best XI in Croatian team. he is not too harsh on players but knows how to maintain discipline," Mario Mandzukic had said about the then Croatian boss.
Stimac is known for his leadership qualities and capability of making bold decisions. He captained many times during his playing career and as manager did not shrug from dropping big names, as was the case with Ivan Rakitic who was dropped following a dismal performance against Macedonia in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
His first task as the head coach would be to assemble the team before the King's Cup to be held in Thailand in June this year.