Sharjah: Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine has stepped down after the team’s shock 0-1 defeat to Bahrain which led to their exit from the showpiece AFC Asian Cup football tournament here Monday.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF), in its official twitter handle, said that the 56-year-old Constantine has resigned.
“Mr @StephenConstan has announced his resignation as the head coach of the Indian national team. We haven’t received any official communication from him yet but we accept his decision & thank him for his contribution to #Indian football: Mr Kushal Das, general secretary, AIFF,” the tweet said. Constanine’s contract was to end, January 31.
Constantine’s regisation came after India crashed out of the showpiece Asian Cup under dramatic circumstances here Monday.
India were on the verge of booking their maiden knockout round berth as the final Group A match was 0-0 till the 90th minute when Bahrain earned a penalty which the West Asian team converted to win the game under dramatic circumstances.
India needed just a draw to qualify for the round of 16 but the defeat meant that they finished at the bottom of the four-team Group A to crash out of the tournament.
The Anglo-Cypriot coach took over the reins of the team in 2015 for a two-year tenure. He was given one-year contract extension twice.
Indian fans had already started celebrating when captain Pranoy Halder brought down a Bahrain attacker for the referee to point to the dreaded spot.
Jamal Rashed stepped up and coolly sent the ball past goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu into the net to the dismay of the Indians who had surprised everyone with their impressive performance in the tournament.
India ended at the bottom of four-team Group A on three points from three matches. Hosts UAE, which played out a 1-1 draw against Thailand in the other match played simultaneously in Al Ain, topped the group on five points. In their first game, India had beaten Thailand 4-1 before losing the second to UAE 0-2.