Reacting to reports that Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine will be shown the door once his contract expires in March, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said on Saturday that those discussions will only take place after the Asian Cup.
“We’re completely focused on AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and the team has been performing excellently under Stephen Constantine having risen to 97 from 173 in the FIFA ranking within less than 4 years,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said in a statement.
Since Constantine took charge of the Indian team in 2015, Sunil Chhetri and Co. have experienced a sharp rise in the FIFA rankings to surge up to 97 in the latest figures.
But reports of rifts between star players and the coach have come up time and again.
Constantine, it has been reported, has fallen out with many of India’s top players, including captain Sunil Chhetri, who is not a fan of his manager’s insistence on defensive solidity.
A number of senior players had also reportedly asked for the manager to be sacked earlier this year.
“It is sad that media is indulging in baseless and silly speculation before such an important tournament of the national team,” Das said in the statement.
Former Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca is tipped to take over.
India are currently preparing for the forthcoming Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi where they will face Thailand in their first match at the Al Nahyan Stadium on January 6.