CHENNAI: A meeting of AIFF officials and former footballers shortlisted eight applicants for the post of India’s U-17 coach in New Delhi on Friday, sources revealed.
With the deadline to respond to the advertisement, calling for a new coach, expiring on Thursday, the committee put together to shortlist candidates had gathered on Friday to go through ‘nearly a hundred applications’. The committee included technical committee head Bhaichung Bhutia, new technical director Savio Madeira and former India captain IM Vijayan.
“There were nearly a hundred applicants,” sources close to the process told Express. “The committee went through all of them and whittled the list down to eight. Now they will meet again and further shorten the list down to three. These three will then be invited for interviews, after which the AIFF and the sports ministry will settle for a final choice.”
The length of the process indicates that it will take at least another week before the U-17 team has a new coach. Though initially AIFF secretary Kushal Das had said that a new manager will be found in 10 days, it has been that many days already since Nicolai Adam’s departure was announced. An advertisement had been put out two days later, which had given applicants a week to respond.
Constantine to take charge
He has to prepare the senior team for the vital AFC Asian Cup qualifiers that will begin in March. But before that, India coach Stephen Constantine has another job to do — take charge of the U-17 boys for a week.
Sources revealed that AIFF president Praful Patel had requested Constantine to look after the junior team in Goa till a new coach for them is appointed. With the national players all busy with the I-League, Constantine can afford to devote a week to the U-17 kids.
“Patel has personally requested Constantine to look after the boys till a new coach can be found, to which he agreed. Constantine will take charge of the team on Monday and will be in charge of the camp till next Saturday,” said sources. The India coach had, on Friday morning, tweeted out a picture of him working out with caption ‘getting ready for camp’.
The boys had been training in Goa since Adam’s departure with Madeira, head of youth development Richard Hood and former Churchill coach Mariano Dias supervising training.