Englishman Bob Houghton who took Malmo to the European Cup final also coached India.
India have had a rich legacy of coaches come in at the helm and take the team to new heights. Since independence, there have been 29 different head coaches for the Indian football team. Out of those 29, 11 have been foreigners.
From the dizzying heights reached under Syed Abdul Rahim, who took India to gold in the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games and a fourth-place finish during the 1956 Summer Olympics to some highly controversial tenures, the highs and lows have been well documented. Out of the foreign mentors, Bob Houghton and Stephen Constantine have stood out, helping India qualify for the AFC Asian Cup.
This is what the following five former Indian football team head coaches have been up to since their time with the Blue Tigers. Adding to that, since each of them have contributed a lot to the sport in India, we have decided to not rank them in any order!
Stephen Constantine (2002-2005 & 2015-2019)
The current East Bengal head coach enjoyed two different stints as a national coach. India were at their peak under Constantine’s tutelage, taking over when the FIFA rankings was a meagre 173 and turning things around with an unbeaten run spanning two years between June 2016 and March 2018. This helped India qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after an absence of eight years. Constantine helped India to a FIFA ranking of 96 in July 2017, the best in the last 21 years.
After departing as India’s coach in 2019, Constantine worked as the Chief Football Operations Officer at Cypriot club Pafos and has now for the first time taken charge of an Indian domestic football club, East Bengal.
Sukhwinder Singh (2005)
The former defender from Punjab reached legendary status as the coach of JCT. He coached the national team from 1999-2001 and in 2005. Sukhwinder Singh led India to the SAFF Cup victory in 1999 and the run during the 2002 World Cup Qualifiers.
The tactician oversaw the Pailan Arrows project for some time before resigning in February, 2012. He went on to manage Churchill Brothers and Indian Women’s League side Rising Student’s Club till 2014.
Syed Nayeemuddin (2005-2006)
The only sportsperson to win the Arjuna Award and the Dronacharya Award was appointed coach of the national team twice. His first stint was between 1997-98, in which he won the SAFF Cup and reached the semi-finals of the Nehru Cup. He succeeded Sukhwinder Singh in 2005, but left after only a year in charge.
He went on to become the head coach of the Bangladesh club Brothers Union for ten years till 2017. In between, he was also the Bangladeshi national team’s head coach from 2007-2008. He again took the reins of Brothers Union from 2018 to 2019. On April 2022, Nayeemuddin was awarded the Shaan-e-Mohammedan by Mohammedan Sporting, the lifetime achievement award presented by the club.
Bob Houghton (2006-2011)
Under Bob Houghton, India won the Nehru Cup and the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 and entered the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 27 years. Houghton was in charge between 2006 and 2011, helping India transition into a competitive unit. After the AIFF’s technical committee expressed their unhappiness with the performance under Houghton, the Englishman handed in his resignation immediately.
His last assignment was the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 qualifiers in which India ended up topping the group stages. This role was the final challenge for Bob Houghton, who has not managed a club since.
Savio Medeira (2011-2012)
Savio was the assistant coach to Houghton and stayed on to assist Armando Colaco, eventually taking over in 2011. He took charge of 15 games in total, winning five, losing eight and drawing two. He was named the technical director of the national football team between 2017-2019 and remained in the role until March this year.