New Indian football coach: Five former players whom AIFF may consider to succeed Igor Stimac

Igor Stimac appointed as Indian football team coach Igor Stimac has over 18 years of experience in coaching and developing football and players | Wikipedia

With the most celebrated player and captain of the national team, Sunil Chhetri announcing his retirement as well as the long-standing relationship with the head coach Igor Stimac abruptly ending, the Indian football team has some major changes they are required to get adjusted to. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is seen to be preparing for a significant shift that is taking place in the national team. Recently, AIFF announced the opening of the position of head coach on social media platforms, with a list of requirements that include a heavy experience and knowledge of the sport, proving that the organization is in a full-fledged hunt to recruit the most qualified person for the job.

Here are some candidates who seem the most probable and suitable for the position of head coach of the Indian football team. 

Khalid Jamil

The Indian football team ardently requires a coach who shall not only possess sufficient experience as a player but also has a successful run as a team manager. Keeping this in mind, Khlaid Jamil stands as one of the best contenders for this position.

He is a former player himself who took an early retirement in 2009 and ever since has had an illustrious career in coaching and managing numerous Indian football clubs. He has managed top-tier football clubs such as NorthEast United, Mohun Bagan and Mumbai and become the first Indian to be the permanent head coach of an ISL team (Jamshedpur FC). Under his mentorship, Aizawl FC garnered their historic I-league win.

Well-known for fostering a positive work environment and supportive man-management skills, Khalid Jamil could prove to be of great use for the Blue Tigers.

Mahesh Gawli

The current center back of the Indian football team, Sandesh Jhingan only had high praises for Mahesh Gawli when he spoke to News18. He said, “Mahesh bhai has been one of the stalwarts of the game during his days as a player, and now we learn so much from his experience.”

Thus proving Mahesh Gawli’s strong connection with not only the sport but with the current team. He has been part of India’s highest-ranking defenders.

He has worked closely with the players as the assistant coach and has been the man behind-the-scenes of the Indian national team since 2022. His strong influence on the team as well as stepping up as the main coach from time to time has been nothing short of a show of reliability and consistency, qualities the Indian football team is looking for.

From serving the country as a player to serving as the assistant coach makes him a trusted candidate for the head coach position. 

Clifford Miranda

Currently the head coach of the Indian Men’s U23 football team, Clifford Miranda is well versed with Indian football as he has served the national team for an unprecedented nine years. He was the attacking midfielder of the Indian national team that is widely respected by football enthusiasts. 

Miranda's passion for football never seemed to have ceased, even after retirement. In the 2022-23 season, he became the first Indian coach to lift a major trophy after he was given the chance to lead Odisha FC. Soon after this, he was named the AIFF Men’s Coach Of The Year as well as became the head coach of the India U-23 national team.

With such a glittering and long playing career as well as hands-on experience with coaching, Clifford Miranda seems like a very strong candidate who is currently in the perfect form to lead the Indian football team to new heights.  

Gouramangi Singh

Gouramagi Singh, affectionately called ‘Mangi’ is the perfect example of an esteemed player, passionate about the sport, smoothly transitioning to focusing on mentoring, coaching, and uplifting the sport for the next generation.

Having represented India in prestigious tournaments such as AFC Challenge Cup, Nehru Cup, and SAFF Cup, Gouramangi Singh is one of the most esteemed football players the Indian national team has ever had. He was a center-back who represented the Indian team from 2006 to 2013.

Today he is the assistant coach of FC Goa. As he has represented India in various international platforms, he has a well-rounded understanding of how to carry out a national team. He is seen as one of the top contenders of the Indian football coach as his defensive expertise, experience of the game and managing clubs will potentially help the Indian national football team reach newer and higher accolades.  

Renedy Singh

The former captain of the Indian national team and presently the assistant coach of Bengaluru FC, Renedy Singh is another powerful candidate that has a great deal of experience, knowledge and prowess to bring to the table.

He is on the list of lookouts when it comes to recruiting the new Indian football team coach. Renedy Singh was part of the Indian national team during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup as well as made up to 72 appearances for India. His proficiency not only lies in being a player but also in coaching and managing football teams.

He has had a long list of coaching experience as he was the interim assistant coach of East Bengal in 2020, assistant coach of FC Pune between 2015-2016 and is currently the assistant coach of Bengaluru FC. A coach that possesses the ability to shape the players and the team to bring out their best front forth. 

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