India football coach Constantine given contract extension

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Mumbai, Feb 7 (IANS) India football team head coach Stephen Constantine was handed a contract extension on Wednesday by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which rewarded the Englishman for the 2019 Asian Cup qualification.

The 55-year-old, who has been in charge of the national team since 2015, helped India achieve their best-ever FIFA ranking since February 1996 when they ranked 96 in July 2017.

“The AIFF Technical Committee chaired by Shyam Thapa held here, unanimously agreed to offer an extension of contract to Stephen Constantine based on his performance,” the AIFF announced in a statement.

“The members felt that the Indian senior national men’s team met the dual strategic objectives of AIFF by qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 as well as by consistently achieving a top 15 FIFA ranking amongst Asian countries in the recent past. Accordingly, there was no reason for the AIFF not to offer a contract to Stephen,” the statement added.

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Constantine, though, won’t be given a big hike, Thapa indicated.

“There won’t be a massive hike given to him. That is the understanding. We have communicated our decision to the AIFF and now Constantine will decide,” Thapa told IANS.

Constantine’s demand for a salary hike was the only bone of contention before the meeting.

Constantine draws a monthly salary of $20,000 (around Rs 12.8 lakh).

The English-Cypriot coach began his second spell in India in January 2015. He got a 14-month extension in November 2016 and was denied a hike back then.

But after that, India have been on a roll, remaining undefeated in 13 matches, an unprecedented run that includes 11 wins and two draws.

India’s ranking also improved dramatically as they reached their highest ranking in two decades when they broke into the top-100 (96) and are currently placed 102nd in the world.

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The technical committee also met the coach of India’s under-17 World Cup team and Indian Arrows, Luis Norton de Matos, who gave a presentation charting the roadmap for the team.

“We are very happy with him and he has been doing well with the boys,” Thapa added.

–IANS

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