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Indian national football team head coach, Igor Stimac has received a one-year contract extension, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has confirmed.

The contract, which is renewed till September 2022, has been extended keeping in mind the fact that the Blue Tigers are due to take part in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers which runs from February to September 2022. He had earlier received a six-month extension in May 2021.

“All India Football Federation’s Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Shyam Thapa met via a video conference where Stimac made a presentation on the performance graph of the senior men’s national team wherein he highlighted the change in football philosophy and the emergence of the future generation of the Blue Tigers in the National Team set-up,” the AIFF said in a statement.

“The committee deliberated at length, and reached a consensus that in view of the external factors which has had a huge impact on the footballing world in general, and with the national team all set to begin their campaign in their quest to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, head coach Igor Stimac be given an extension of his contract till September 2022.” 

Stimac, who managed Croatia to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, signed his first contract with the Indian team in May 2019. In his first year with the team, the Blue Tigers played a hard-fought draw against reigning Asian champions Qatar.

In his three-year stint so far, the Croatian has handed debuts to 20 Indian footballers, which includes the likes of Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, Rahul Bheke and Ishan Pandita. While his managerial record with the national team hasn’t been great with just two wins in 15 matches, he did take India to the 2023 Asian Cup qualifying third round.

India secured a direct spot into the third round qualifiers following a third-place finish in Group E of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

Featured photo: Twitter / AIFF

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