The blue tigers were on cusp of attaining a place in the knockout stages of the prestigious AFC Asian cup, this January, for the very first time after the game was level at 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes. Referee added three more minutes to the game and Pronay Mondal did a rough tackle in the scoring circle which gave a realistic chance to Bahrain to score courtesy of a penalty. Jamal Rashed pounched on the opportunity and netted the ball past the strong and sturdy Gurpreet Sindh Sandhu to break the hearts of Indian fans.
India was ousted from the tournament despite being the second most strongest team in the group which led to the exit of national coach- Stephen Constantine. It was Constantine who was given the charge of the team in 2015 when the Blue tigers were placed at 173rd spot in the FIFA rankings. The Englishman worked with the team and got them into the top 100 of the rankings in 2018.
Igor Stimac becomes the new coach
The post of the coach was vacant for over four months but the time finally came when All India Football Federation announced the arrival of former Croatian International Igor Stimac as the new coach of the football team. The veteran of 52 national caps, Stimac will be on a two year contract with the AIFF.
“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,” AIFF President Praful Patel said.
Some lesser known facts about Igor Stimac
* The 51-year-old coached the Croatian national football team in the 2014 Fifa world cup in Brazil.
* The former Croatian International was part of the national team in 1998 world cup where the team finished third.
* He was also a part of the Yugoslavia U-19 National Team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup Chile 1987.