The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has appointed Igor Stimac as the Head Coach of the senior men's team on a two-year contract. Stimac comes with an experience of over 18 years in coaching, structuring, and developing football and players in Croatia and internationally.
As a Coach, Stimac helmed Croatia's qualification to the 2014 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. He also played a pivotal role in developing the likes of Dario Srna, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Strinic, Kovacic, Perisic, and other players.
His last assignment was with the Al-Shahania Club in Qatar. As a player, he was part the of the Croatia team which finished third at the 1998 World Cup in France. He was also a member of the team which qualified for the quarterfinals of 1996 European Championship in England. Besides, he was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 team which won the U-20 World Cup in Chile in 1987.
After Stimac's appointment, Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF said "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."
Former India player Shyam Thapa, who was also a member of the bronze-medal winning squad in the 1970 Asian Games, and currently the Chairman of the Technical Committee mentioned that "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 said. "He also impressed us with his extensive research on Indian Football."
Stimac's first assignment will be the Kings Cup in Buriram, Thailand where India play Curacao in their first match on June 5.