India sack Stimac after failure to reach third round of 2026 qualifying

June 17 – India have dismissed their Croatian manager Igor Stimac after the Blue Tigers failed to reach the third round of World Cup qualifying. 

Following a meeting of the top executives of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body issued a statement saying: “Noting the disappointing outcome of the Senior Men’s National Team’s FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign, the members unanimously agreed that a new Head Coach would be best placed to take the team forward.

“The meeting instructed the Acting Secretary General Mr. Satyanarayan to notify the current Head Coach Mr. Igor Stimac of its decision to terminate his engagement. Pursuant to the above, a notice of termination has been issued to Mr. Stimac by the AIFF Secretariat, and he stands relieved of his obligations with immediate effect. The AIFF thanks Mr. Stimac for his service to the National Team and wishes him well in his future endeavours.”

The writing had been on the wall after India exited World Cup qualification in the second round following a 2-1 defeat against Qatar.

Stimac had previously downplayed the importance of the Asian Cup to focus on reaching the third round of qualifying, but India fell short, in particular after disappointing results against Afghanistan and Kuwait. On the back of a first-round exit at the continental finals, Stimac’s position had become untenable.

Stimac took charge of India in 2019 with a 3-1 loss against Curacao and led the team in 53 matches. He won 19, drew 14 and lost 20.

India do not return to international action until September.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1721221187labto1721221187ofdlr1721221187owedi1721221187sni@i1721221187tnuk.1721221187ardni1721221187mas1721221187


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