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Sooner Kalyan Chaubey leaves, the better it is for Indian football: Igor Stimac attacks AIFF after ouster

Ousted India football coach Igor Stimac launched a sharp critique of AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey on Friday, suggesting that Chaubey's departure would benefit the future of football in India, a country where the sport is struggling to grow.

football Sooner Kalyan Chaubey leaves, the better it is for Indian football: Igor Stimac attacks AIFF after ouster snt
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First Published Jun 21, 2024, 5:01 PM IST

Ousted India football coach Igor Stimac launched a sharp critique of AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey on Friday, suggesting that Chaubey's departure would benefit the future of football in India, a country where the sport is struggling to grow.

Stimac was dismissed as head coach on Monday after the team failed to advance to the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. The following day, the Croatian coach threatened to file a lawsuit against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in the FIFA Tribunal if his outstanding dues were not settled within 10 days.

During an extensive online press conference on Friday, Stimac expressed that Indian football is "imprisoned" and attributed many of its issues to Chaubey. He also conveyed his frustration over "lies and unfulfilled promises" during his tenure.

"The sooner Kalyan Chaubey leaves AIFF, the better it is for Indian football," Stimac said.

"Football is the most popular sport in the world, but India is the only place where football is not growing," he added.

Igor Stimac was appointed head coach in March 2019, succeeding Stephen Constantine. Earlier this month, after India's loss to Qatar in the final second-round match of the World Cup Qualifiers, the AIFF dismissed Stimac.

The outspoken coach also criticized AIFF Technical Committee head and Indian football legend I M Vijayan, asserting that Vijayan is not suitable for the role.

"I M Vijayan was a fantastic player but he is not the person to head the national federation's technical committee," he said.

Stimac, a member of Croatia's bronze medal-winning team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, noted that this is the first time in his career he has been dismissed as a coach.

"In my career, I've not been sacked till now, this was the first time. And it was wrongly so - in my reply to AIFF I've done the same. It was impossible for me to continue without enough support, I was fed up of the lies, the unfulfilled promises and being surrounded by people who are only thinking about their own interests," Stimac said from Croatia.

The 56-year-old revealed that he received a final warning before the Asian Cup simply for attempting to stress the importance of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers to the AIFF. Stimac mentioned that the stress from the meeting led to him being hospitalized and undergoing surgery for a heart condition.

"After I told them that the World Cup Qualifiers were more important than Asian Cup, I received a final warning from AIFF. When I received the final warning on December 2, no one knows this, I finished in the hospital. I was disturbed with everything going on; stressed from the obvious problems. I had an immediate surgery on my heart. I wasn't ready to speak to anyone or find excuses. I was ready to put myself on the line to prepare my team for the Asian Cup to give the best shot," Stimac said.

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