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Stephen Constantine The Coach Who Made Us Believe

Farewell, Coach Constantine, the man who made fans believe in Indian Football. The team is now on the lookout for the next manager.

Last updated: 18.01.2019
Stephen Constantine The Coach Who Made Us Believe | Sports Social Blog

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With India bowing out of the AFC Asian Cup with their heads held high, the team is now also on the lookout for their next manager after Stephen Constantine stepped down following the defeat to Bahrain in the last group game. India was knocked out of the AFC Asian Cup after conceding a late penalty in the second half and that penalty was enough to bring an end to the reign of 56-year-old Constantine.

Constantine took over as India’s coach back in 2015 in what was his second stint in the position after having coached the team from 2002 to 2005. The team made a lot of progress under the American but it wasn’t always a smooth ride. There were hot debates among the Indian football faithful over the team selection under his reign and some even asked for Constantine to be sacked for the very reason. But, what is notable is the fact that Indian football has progressed leaps and bounds after Constantine took over from Wim Koevermans after the latter’s contract ran out in early 2015.

It was on 16th January 2015 that Stephen Constantine’s second stint began and his immediate assignment was to help India defeat one of his previous team in Nepal. With a 2-0 aggregate win over the two legs, India ensured progress to the next round of World Cup/Asian Cup qualification. This also saw India rise in the FIFA rankings by 26 places and took them to 147.


In April 2015, India was placed alongside Iran, Guam, Oman and Turkmenistan in Group D for the qualifiers. India did not have a good qualification process and ended up the bottom of the group. This, however, did not deter the team’s progress under Constantine. The signs had clearly shown that India had come a long way and yet there was a lot more to do.

From 2016 began India’s fairytale run where they managed to amass some wonderful records and trophies along the way. Here is a glimpse of what they achieved:

·  January 2016, India beat Afghanistan by 2-1 in the final to lift the SAFF Championship

·     June 2017, India get ranked 100 in the FIFA World Rankings

·    India went on an unbeaten run of 13 games which included 11 wins and only two draws which came to a halt in March 2018

·      In June 2018, India won the Intercontinental Cup beating Kenya in the final

·   It was during the unbeaten run that India ensured qualification for the AFC Asian Cup after a period of 8 years

·   The team managed to win their first game at the AFC Cup after thumping Thailand 4-1 in the group opener

It is going to be difficult to determine the impact Stephen Constantine has had not just on the team but on the nation over the course of his four-year tenure. He took a nation that looked towards football as just another sport and turned it into fans who now celebrate victories with the team with thunderous Viking claps. Stephen Constantine has had a phenomenal second reign as the coach of the Indian Football team and has taken Indian football quite a few steps ahead than what a die-hard fan would have imagined at the beginning of his reign in 2015. Farewell, Coach Constantine, the man who made fans believe in Indian Football.

Video: Interview with the Former Indian football coach

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