'Kalyan only cares about himself': Stimac lashes out on AIFF chief

During a social media interaction on Friday, former national team head coach gives his insight about the state of affairs in Indian football
Stimac said that there was a complete breakdown of trust between him and the AIFF officials and he was enmeshed in a maze of false promises and lies.
Stimac said that there was a complete breakdown of trust between him and the AIFF officials and he was enmeshed in a maze of false promises and lies.

CHENNAI: Days after getting sacked as head coach, Igor Stimac made a scathing attack on All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey and criticised the federation's policies as well.

During an interaction on social media that went on for close to two hours, Stimac said that if Indian football wants to prosper, they should get rid of Chaubey. The former head coach also said that there was a complete breakdown of trust between him and the AIFF officials and he was enmeshed in a maze of false promises and lies.

"If Indian football wants to do well, Kalyan must leave," he said. "Kalyan only cares about himself (being popular) — recent media meets shows that. You say he is a politician, no one knows him even in Kolkata. We need someone strong, influential and with backing to lead Indian football."

Stimac said that India needs someone strong and influential to lead the sport. He said that Kalyan's priority is not football and the two never shared a good working relationship. "Kalyan's priority is to increase clicks on social media and get photographed with famous players instead of thinking about the well-being of Indian football," he said.

Stimac also said the people in the football house do not know anything about the sport. "The AIFF people don't know how to run a football house. They only care about power," he said.

Stimac was sacked on Monday after India failed to qualify for the third round in World Cup qualifiers. The coach, however, said that despite his contract running till 2026, he would have gone anyway. "I decided to leave my position even if we qualify for the third round of the World Cup qualifiers because it was impossible for me to keep going this way without proper support," he said, adding that the players knew about this.

Stimac also revealed that the AIFF told him that law about people of Indian origin playing for the country would change. "I had a positive promise about making everything possible for the players of Indian origin law to be changed," he said. That was what the AIFF had insisted on last year as well. "Without accepting that players of Indian origin get involved in representing India nothing will happen," he said.

The former Croatian international, who was part of the 1998 World Cup bronze-winning team, also spoke about the technical committee, which is headed by legendary IM Vijayan. "IM Vijayan was a fantastic player but he is not the person to head the national federation's technical committee," he said.

Stimac also pointed out that there is not much of trust between the FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited) and the AIFF. The FSDL is the federation's commercial partner and organises the Indian Super League. He said that the AIFF doesn't consult him before finalising events. "I was very angry with them (AIFF) at that time. I said to them either we separate our ways or they show trust. They only care about what's there on social media. They are not concerned about other things."

He said that he was hurt to see the email terminating his duties. The 56-year-old revealed that he was hospitalised last year because of stress. "After I told them that the World Cup Qualifiers were more important than the 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," he said

"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," he added.

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