No reason to sack Stephen Constantine till 2019 Asian Cup, says Kushal Das

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No reason to sack Stephen Constantine till 2019 Asian Cup, says Kushal Das

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SportsCafe Desk

08/08/2018

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das has claimed that there is no reason to part ways with coach Stephen Constantine, at least until next year’s 2019 Asian Cup. Constantine rejoined the Indian team in 2016 and guided India from 173rd in the FIFA rankings, to under 100 for the first time in 20 years.

Stephen Constantine’s appointment as the head coach of the Indian national team for a second stint did not come as a shocker back in 2016. His exploits as coach of the Rwanda national team had gained him global appreciation and the end of Wim Kovermans’ contract meant that Constantine would always be an option to guide the senior team.

However, the Indian squad and the fans have not always seen eye-to-eye with Constantine and his coaching methods and rumors of him being sacked keep making the rounds every now and then, but AIFF general secretary Kushal Das revealed that Constantine was not going to be removed, at least not till the AFC Asian Cup next year that will be held in UAE.

“We don’t see any reason to remove him. He has delivered the results, and moreover, the SAFF Cup. I do meet players, support staff on a regular basis. Players can have problems with the coach. I think these rumours picked up pace in the social media,” Das told PTI sources.

When the London-born manager took charge of the Indian team, they were ranked at a lowly 173rd position in FIFA rankings. Since then, the Indian football team under the leadership of star forward Sunil Chhetri and the guidance of Constantine managed to break the top 100 mark for the first time in almost 20 years. The recent win in the Intercontinental Cup against the likes of Chinese Taipei, Kenya, and New Zealand was another landmark in Indian football.

But speculations were rife that Constantine and captain Chhetri were not on the same page after the coach responded to a question that the skipper’s plea to people to come and cheer the team in the Intercontinental Cup earlier in June. The 55-year old said his boys have done enough and did not need to “beg” fans to come and watch them play.

The British coach was also in charge when India went on a magnificent 13-match unbeaten run that ended with a 1-2 defeat to Kyrgyzstan in the final group game of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign in March.

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