The Indian men’s football team were without a head coach following Stephen Constantine’s resignation amid the Blue Tigers’ stunning loss from the group stages of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Following Stephen Constantine’s dismissal as head coach of the national team, the AIFF had a list of coaches to replace him.
Igor Stimac was appointed as the Indian Football Team’s head coach from a shortlist of four candidates. As a result, names including Albert Roca, Hakan Ericson, and Lee Min-Sung were eliminated by the committee.
With Igor Stimac facing criticism from Indian supporters for the team’s incompetence under his leadership, we take a glance at the other three nominated coaches and where they are now.
Shortlisted coaches of the Indian Football team
Lee Min-sung, a veteran in South Korean football, was a top candidate for the Indian coach. He was the runner-up in the 2004 K-League with Pohang Steelers and the 2008 K-League with FC Seoul. Lee also played in the 2002 FIFA World Cup for South Korea, where he made a total of 67 appearances and helped the team reach the semi-finals.
Lee Min Sung was the South Korean U23 team’s assistant coach when he was denied the position of Indian team’s head coach. Following that, Lee Min Sung was named the coach of Daejeon Hana Citizen, a K-League Division 2 club. Daejeon is currently ranked fourth in the league, ensuring a place in the promotion playoffs.
Daejeon will try to earn a promotion this time around under Lee after falling in the semi-finals of the last season.
Hakan Ericson started his managerial career at the age of 23 and received his big break in 2011 when he was named manager of the Sweden U21 squad, after coaching a number of Swedish second- and third-division clubs. He was in charge for six years, during which Sweden won the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship.
After being rejected for the role of the Indian team’s head coach, Hakan was given an opportunity to lead the Faroe Islands National Team. The Faroe Islands side has made some great progress under Hakan’s guidance.
Hakan has guided the team to four victories and three draws in 13 matches, with defeats to Denmark, Austria, and Scotland. They are also unbeaten in the Nations League at the time and are looking solid and well-balanced.
Roca played at a number of clubs in Spain’s second division before taking over as manager in 1998. His major break came in 2003 when Frank Rijkaard hired him as Barcelona’s conditioning coach for six years in a row.
Roca has previously worked as the head of Bengaluru FC. Under Roca, they have reached the final of the 2016 AFC Cup, won the 2017 Federation Cup and the 2018 Super Cup, as well as finishing as the chart leaders of the ISL in the 2017-18 season.
However, after being rejected for the position of Indian team’s head coach, Roca was appointed as the head coach of Hyderabad FC for ISL 2020/21. He only stayed with the club for a few months before leaving to join Barcelona before the season began. Koeman wanted Roca back as the fitness coach and the hefty offer was too tempting to pass up.
Roca contributed massively for Barcelona as he closely worked towards the recovery of Ousmane Dembele, who turned out to be a key member of the club.