[India], May 15 (ANI): Former Croatia international Igor Stimac has been appointed as the head coach of Indian men's senior team on a two-year contract by the executive committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday.
Stimac comes with an experience of over 18 years in coaching, structuring and developing football and players in Croatia and internationally. As a coach, he guided Croatia to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2014 hosted by Brazil.
He also played a pivotal role in developing likes of Dario Srna, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Strinic, Kovacic, Perisic among others. Stimac's last assignment was with Al-Shahania Club in Qatar.
As a player, Stimac was part of the Croatian squad which finished third in the FIFA World Cup 1998 held in France. He was a member of his national team which qualified for the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship 1996 in England. Besides, he was also part of the Yugoslavia U-19 national team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup 1987 in Chile.
"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.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said, "Indian football would benefit immensely under Igor Stimac. His credentials as a coach and experience as a player are sure to add immense value to the players, and the Indian football ecosystem. The momentum gained needs to be sustained."
Shyam Thapa, a former India international player, a member of the bronze-medal winning squad in the 1970 Asian Games, and currently the Chairman of the Technical Committee mentioned, "Stimac's recommendation was unanimous."
"All the members of the Technical Committee including the AIFF Technical Director Isac Doru were immensely impressed and convinced about him being best suited for the job. He is a World Cupper and has guided Croatia to the World Cup as a coach. Who else could have been a better candidate? He also impressed us with his extensive research on Indian football," Thapa said.
Stimac's first assignment will be the Kings Cup in Thailand, where the Blue Tigers will play Curacao in their first match on June 5. (ANI)