The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has announced the arrival of former Croatia defender Igor Stimac as the new head coach of the Indian national football team. The official announcement of Stimac’s appointment to the post was done on Wednesday. The position had been vacated by Englishman Stephen Constantine after India’s disappointing exit from the AFC Asian Cup 2019 group stages in January.
— Doordarshan Sports (@ddsportschannel) May 15, 2019
Who is Igor Stimac?
Igor Stimac is a former Croatian defender and was an important part of Croatia’s historic ‘Golden Generation’. The nation was called so because of its shock endeavour in the 1998 World Cup semi-finals. Stimac was a mainstay in the centre back position, partnering effectively with Slaven Bilic at the heart Croatia’s backline for years. He went on to make 53 appearances for the national team before hanging his boots in 2002.
On the club football side, Stimac has played for several teams in Croatia. However, he is best remembered for his spells in England for West Ham United and Derby County. The Croat went on to attain cult status for the latter after he helped the Rams secure promotion to the Premiership during the 1995-96 season. As a result of his contribution there, the Derby has bestowed on him an exclusive lounge called ‘Igor’s’ at the team’s Pride Park Stadium.
How is Stimac as a coach?
Igor Stimac has over 15 years of coaching experience behind him. The 51-year-old started his coaching journey at his hometown club Hajduk Split back in 2005. It turned out to be a successful endeavour as the Croat guided the team to the Croatian First Football League in the very first season itself. He also masterminded Hajduks’ entry into the finals of the Croatian Football Cup. However, they ended as the runners up.
Since then, Stimac moved on to a coaching a couple of other Croatian clubs. In 2012, as a result of his vast experience and decisiveness, Stimac landed the dream job of being the head coach of the Croatia national football team. Stimac was in-charge of the national team for almost a year before stepping down in 2013. Amongst his most cherished accomplishments was guiding Croatia to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying play-offs.
Moreover, it was during Stimac’s stint in the office that debuts were handed to the talented youngsters such as Mateo Kovacic, Ante Rebic and Alen Halilovic.
Moreover, he also played an important role in the evolution of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, and Mario Mandzukic amongst others. Stimac, thus, had a significant impact in Croatia’s dream run in the FIFA World Cup 2018. In fact, the 12 players that featured in his team went on to play in Croatia’s run to the final at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.
After his stint in Europe, Stimac moved his base eastwards, coaching Iranian side Sepahan from 2015-16 before taking over Qatari side Al-Shahania 2016-17.
What is his coaching style?
Igor Stimac is famous for his pragmatic approach towards football. He has a long history of developing young talent and is known for masterminding set-piece routines. Stimac also has fantastic organizational skills. His ability to bring discipline should do a great deal of good for the Blue Tigers.
What Next for Stimac?
His first consignment in office at will be the King’s Cup in Thailand. India are scheduled to face Curacao in the first match on June 5.
The journey begins finally ???? Thanks everyone @IndianFootball for the trust. I am excited & let’s accomplish the mission together ??, it is possible only with the support of everyone in this beautiful country #Teamwork both on & off pitch. Namaste???? from ?? pic.twitter.com/3XKh0YH8Xt
— Igor Štimac (@stimac_igor) May 15, 2019