Sunil Chhetri-Led Indian Football Team to Play Without Head Coach Till April-May, Says Kushal Das
File picture of Indian football team. (Photo: @IndianFootball/Twitter)

New Delhi, February 6: The Indian national football team will continue to be without a head coach, at least for another couple of months, even as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) prepares to advertise for the post soon. "We will advertise for that position shortly, but we have no plans to appoint anyone before April-May," AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said here on Wednesday.

The Sunil Chhetri-led national football team parted ways with the head coach Stephen Constantine after the team's first round exit from the AFC Asian Cup, after a few notable performances. India created waves when they beat a fancied Thailand 4-1 in the opener before narrowly going down to hosts UAE 0-2 and then Bahrain 0-1 to bow out of the AFC Asian Cup. It led to the exit of English coach. India Football Schedule 2018–19: Timetable and Fixtures With List of Upcoming Matches of the Blue Tigers.

Hailing the side, Das said the performance has improved in the past 4-5 years, which is reflected in the rise of India in the FIFA rankings. India are currently at placed No.97 in the rankings.

"There is no doubt that Indian football has made some substantial progress in the last 4-5 years. We comprehensively beat Thailand in the opening game but missed out on close chances to the UAE and Bahrain. I can say that's a far superior performance for the side," Das remarked on the sidelines of an event here where I-league side Chennai City FC announced its partnership with Swiss football club FC Basel.

"Our ranking has improved significantly, which also shows our growth. It will take some time, but there is optimism and we are on the right track," he said. On the partnership between Chennai City FC and FC Basel, Das said it was a "historic moment" for Indian football. "It is an old cliché but this is truly a historic moment for Indian football," he said.

"On behalf of the AIFF, I welcome the deal between the two clubs and promise all possible support from the governing body to ensure that this is a successful venture," the AIFF official said. "FC Basel is close to my heart since it is hometown club of one of my favourite sportsperson - Roger Federer," he added.

The partnership was announced in the presence of Chennai City co-owners Rohit Ramesh and R. Krishnakumar along with FC Basel President Bernhard Burgener and chief executive Roland Heri.