New Delhi, May 15: Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac was Wednesday appointed head coach of the Indian football team for a two-year term.
The national team has been without a coach since the departure of Stephen Constantine in January, following the creditable show at the AFC Asian Cup.
The appointment was made by the AIFF's executive committee.
The 51-year-old Stimac, who was part of Croatia's 1998 World Cup squad that finished third in France, comes with an experience of over 18 years in coaching, structuring, and developing football and players back home, and internationally.
As a coach, Stimac's major achievement was guiding Croatia to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. During his tenure as the national coach of Croatia, he handed debuts to the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic, Alen Halilovic, and Ivan Perisic, amongst others.
He also played a pivotal role in developing the likes of Dario Srna, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Strinic, Kovacic, Perisic, and other players. The centre-back has made 53 appearances for the national team.
His last assignment was with Al-Shahania Club in Qatar.
As a player, he was part of the Croatia team that finished third in the 1998 World Cup, and a member of the national squad which qualified for the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship 1996 (Euro) in England.
Besides, he was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 national team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1987.
Welcoming Stimac to Indian football, AIFF president Praful Patel said, "Igor is the right candidate to coach the Blue Tigers. I welcome him on board. Indian football is going through a transition, and I am confident his vast experience will guide us to higher echelons."
General secretary Kushal Das added, "Indian football would benefit immensely under Igor Stimac.
"His credentials as a coach and experience as a player are sure to add immense value to the players, and the Indian football ecosystem. The momentum gained needs to be sustained."
Technical committee head Shyam Thapa, a former India international, said, "Mr. Stimac's recommendation was unanimous."
"All the members of the technical committee including the AIFF technical director Mr. Isac Doru were immensely impressed, and convinced about him being best suited for the job. He is a World Cupper, and has guided Croatia to World Cup as a coach. Who else could have been a better candidate?" he quipped.
"He also impressed us with his extensive research on Indian football."
Stimac's first assignment will be the Kings Cup in Buriram, Thailand where the Blue Tigers play Curacao in their first match on June 5.
Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.
Islamabad: Pakistan is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government to resolve all outstanding issues, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.
Addressing an Iftar dinner in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said both India and Pakistan should sit on negotiation table to solve issues for the sake of prosperity and peace of the region, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
His remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a super-sized victory for a second term in office.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi on his electoral triumph and expressed desire to work with him for peace and prosperity in the region.
"I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia," Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu.
In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi's party wins the general elections.
The results of India's general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the new government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama terror attack.
Just a day before the announcement of results, Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers' meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He conveyed to her Pakistan's desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.
Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.