The Indian national football team is set to be back in action in June 2019 in the King’s Cup in Thailand under a new national team head coach.
The last India game had been on January 14, 2019, the final 2019 AFC Asian Cup group match against Bahrain which India had lost due to a last minute penalty and head coach Stephen Constantine resigned at the post-match press conference.
Since then over 250 coaches have applied for the India job! Established big names like Raymond Domenech, Sam Allardyce, Sven-Göran Eriksson besides coaches having worked in India like Spaniard Albert Roca have been mentioned by the media as having applied for the job.
But what are we looking for in the new India National Team coach?
I will try and tell you what I would think would be the perfect new India National Team coach!
First of all, I don’t believe that our new national coach needs to be someone who has coached in India. An experienced international coach can come in and review the Indian club football scene to select his own set of players for the national team over a period of time.
Further in Shanmugam Venkatesh the new head coach would have a good assistant coach with the right insights on Indian players and Indian football, who has been an able number two to Stephen Constantine during his tenure.
But then there are the realities of the All India Football Federation. The AIFF has said that they have a limited budget for their new head coach, which means that a top manager with his demands of salaries and people he’d like to bring in as staff are unlikely to be fulfilled except if the Government of India and/or marketing partners FSDL step in to support the AIFF financially
What needs to be the vision?
To me the new head coach needs to have a plan on how to qualify India for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup! The qualifiers start in the later half of 2019 and if the 2022 FIFA World Cup is expanded to 48 teams which would mean likely eight teams from Asia qualifying, then a plan for us to get into the final stage of Asian qualifiers.
The new head coach needs to have the chance to find the players who fit his management and his style of play though I am sceptical when I hear style of play as there is no Indian style of play and current with the players in the system and those coming through from the youth teams, our national team needs to adjust to the talent we have. We cannot fix a certain style of play and then we don’t have the players available to play that way.
There is a lot of consider before appointing a new Indian national team coach, so lets see who would be amongst the top contenders before the top candidates are announced.