The agent claimed that the AIFF didn’t give the Spaniard enough time to attend the interview in person.
Former Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca‘s agent has claimed that his client wasn’t given a fair chance to apply for the post of the coach of the Indian nationall team, as reported by Sportstar.
The team which was without a coach since January following the departure of long-time tactician Stephen Constantine were looking for a suitable replacement ever since.
The AIFF committee headed by former India international Shyam Thapa recommended former Croatia coach Igor Stimac for the post of head coach over Roca. Now, the former BFC’s man’s agent has alleged that the AIFF didn’t give his client enough time to personally attend the interview.
According to him, the AIFF initially informed the candidates on May 5 that the interview would be held after two days on May 7, but ended up postponing it to May 9.
According to him, the short notice made it extremely difficult to procure a visa, as it takes a minimum of four days to apply for an Indian e-visa, making the journey practically impossible for Roca.
“Roca didn’t have the option to come to India for the interview because it was impossible to get the visa in such a short space of time. He could have made a better impression if he had appeared in person,” the agent quipped.
However, the national team director Abhishek Yadav rubbished these claims as he said, “The technical committee had picked a nine-man shortlist on April 15. A day later, we informed them (shortlisted candidates) that we want to fill the position by May 10.”
“We again reached out to the final four candidates on May 3 and asked them about their availability. After consultation, the interview date was pushed to May 9. We wanted to finish the interviews quickly because we have an upcoming camp,” the national team director added.
Out of all the candidates, only Stimac appeared in person for the interview, while Roca, Hakan Ericson (Sweden) and Lee Min-sung (South Korea) attended interviews over Skype.
Yadav also asserted that Roca’s appearance in person could not have swayed the decision of the committee. “It wasn’t that any factor went against the candidates. We listened to everyone’s opinion with an open mind and their feedback on the technical aspects of how to improve the team. The technical committee felt that Stimac was most convincing and had the best plan,” he added.
Though the Croatian had the best profile among the shortlisted candidates, there are some apprehensions about his past performances. Stimac lost three of the last four matches at the World Cup qualifiers during his 468-day stint with Croatia; a club he coached in Qatar ended up finishing 12th out of 14 teams and an Iranian club that emerged champions in 2014-15, settled for a place 10 ranks below the next season with the Croatian at the helm.