The Englishman’s contract with the Indian national team is set to expire at the end of January next year.
The All India Football Federation has tried to defuse any rumours of them parting ways with India head coach Stephen Constantine following the AFC Asian Cup 2019 next month. After speculation of Constantine’s contract with the team being ended came up recently, the federation has put out an official statement in which it condemns all the speculation regarding the matter.
The General Secretary of the AIFF, Kushal Das, gave his thoughts on the reports and brushed aside any speculation of them replacing the Englishman with someone else after the tournament. He said, “It’s completely baseless and utter rubbish. We’re completely focused on the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. The team has been performing excellently under Stephen Constantine, having risen to 97 from 173 in the FIFA rankings in less than four years.”
Das also added, “It is sad that media is indulging in baseless and silly speculation before such an important tournament of the national team.”
However, Das also mentioned that Constantine’s contract as the manager of the national team expires on 31st January 2019. He further added, “We all are focused on the massive tournament right now. We’ll only sit together to discuss this once his contract ends on 31st January 2019.”
There has been talk of Constantine’s relationship with captain Sunil Chhetri having become strained in recent months. Chhetri hasn’t taken too keenly to the Englishman’s method of play with the national team, a stance that has also been supported by other players. Some reports in recent months have suggested that many senior players are not content with Constantine’s system and allegedly even wanted him replaced back in March.
However, AIFF President Praful Patil calmed down the situation then and matters have improved between the parties before the AFC Asian Cup. In his three years as manager, Constantine has guided the national team to break into the top 100 in the FIFA rankings, where India currently sit in 97th position.
India are currently holding a preparatory camp for the continental showpiece in the UAE. The Blue Tigers played out an encouraging goalless draw against Oman on Thursday and will continue training up until 6th January, before facing Thailand in their first group stage encounter. After that, games against hosts UAE and Bahrain will take place on 10th and 14th January respectively.