CHENNAI: Will he? Won’t he? Despite the All India Football Federation deciding to offer national team coach Stephen Constantine a contract extension until the 2019 Asian Cup, question marks still remain over whether he will accept it. “The AIFF Technical Committee chaired by Mr. Shyam Thapa held on Wednesday in Mumbai, unanimously agreed to offer an extension of contract to Stephen Constantine based on his performance till the end of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019,” an AIFF statement said.
“The members felt that the Indian senior national men’s team met the dual strategic objectives of AIFF by qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 as well as by consistently achieving a top 15 FIFA ranking amongst Asian countries in the recent past,” the release added. “Accordingly, there was no reason for the AIFF not to offer a contract to Stephen.” But there is, as yet, not guarantee that the Englishman will sign on. The differences between the two parties appear to be financial. Express understands that the new contract will not offer Constantine an increase on his $20,000 a month salary, but will factor in bonuses based on the team’s performance in the Asian Cup.
Constantine meanwhile is reportedly expecting a hike — he has not been offered one since returning for a second stint in 2015. Adding even more intrigue is the rumoured player’s revolt against the coach. Sources close to the team speak of senior players being unhappy over Constantine’s emphasis being more on the physical aspect, an approach they feel will not serve India well against physically-superior sides in the Asian Cup.
But while rumours have to be circulating about the rifts, it has to be emphasised that no player has given in a written complaint to the federation.