Jahar Das wants AIFF to assess Thapa's input as Technical Committee chief

January 11 2020

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India's football coach Igor Stimac's performance so far with the national team has had mixed reactions. While the team has put in some quality performances in games against top Asian teams like Qatar, there have also been lows like the draw against Afghanistan in their last international outing. But renowned domestic coach Jahar Das believes that process is what counts as results without a strong foundation means nothing in the long run.

Speaking to IANS, Das -- the architect behind Aizawl FC winning the I-League in 2017 and the coach when Peerless SC historically won the Calcutta Football League in 2019 -- said that Stimac has taken the team to new heights and what Indian football ideally needs is a Technical Director who can discuss strategies with the coach and also point areas where the coach needs to work on to help the national team make it to the next level.

"If we start from Stephen Constantine's first stint, then Bob Houghton and then again Constantine and after that Igor, then I must say that the bulk of the work done with the Indian team was by Houghton. During Constantine's time (second stint), the boys might have played well but did not make much progress. But this coach (Stimac), I must admit that he has taken the team to a new height. He might not have got the desired results so far, but the team has made significant progress.

"In addition to mental toughness, this team now can make instant attacks and also can increase the number of players while attacking. This is a significant progress. If we give him sufficient time, he can do wonders. Result is not everything. If you go by the result then it will not work. In fact in Constantine's time, despite his efforts to concede less goals, we conceded five against Japan in Kolkata. Results at times depend on luck. The recent draw against Qatar in World Cup qualifier, is sheer luck. But then against other teams we have played really good football," he explained.

Asked about the road ahead, he said: "Problem with Stimac is that he is yet to know the talented players available and by the time he will know, it will be time for him to go. You just cannot appoint a coach and ask him to build a team. You have to give him time.

"The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will only take 'yes men'. Admittedly, Shyam Thapa was a great player of his time. But then, you tell me what has been his contribution as the Technical Committee Chairman?

"I understand he expressed his displeasure known (after India's results in the World Cup qualifiers), but then what is the use of that. One needs to be with the coach, guide him properly informing him about the available players etc.

"Tell me is there any technical report on the foreign coaches that have come here? Is there any report on what was the state of the team when a coach took over and what was the state when the coach left? I have my doubts, if there is any. So with this kind of an attitude we can go from bad to worse, whosoever be the coach," he explained.

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