Mumbai: Two men who possess experience of having coached in India as well as at the international level, Englishman Stephen Constantine and New Zealander Ricki Herbert, have been short-listed to take over from Dutchman Wim Koevermans as the new coach of the national football team.
Constatine, 52, who coached India between 2002 and 2005, and 53-year-old Herbert, former New Zealand coach who guided North East United FC in the Indian Super League that concluded yesterday, were identified to take over the mantle by the All India Football Federation's technical committee at its meeting here today.
The panel, headed by former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia, has also recommended Australian Scott O'Donnell -- AIFF's Academy instructor -- to take over the mantle of AIFF's Technical Director, a post which is lying vacant after the departure of Dutchman Rob Baans.
"We had a very good discussion over who should take over as coach of the senior team. Rob Baans had recommended that whoever takes over should know Indian football and should also have coached a team at the international level.
"Both Stephen and Ricki fulfil that criteria. We would be speaking to both of them and then decide on who gets the job in the next 3-4 days," Bhutia told reporters after the technical committee meeting.
Bhutia also said that while the federation had received applications from the likes of Ashley Westwood, who guided Bengaluru FC to the I-League title last season, and Trevor Morgan (coach of Kerala Blasters in ISL), they lacked the criteria of having coached a national team.
"We are looking at a contract of three years," he said.
The former India striker said O'Donnell was identified as the best man for the job of Technical Director as per the 'Lakshya' road map for Indian football laid out by the AIFF.
"We have also identified two Germans -- Nicolai Adam and Bernard Lippert -- as the men ideal to take over as the national Under 17 coach ahead of the World Under 17 Cup to be hosted by India in 2017," said Bhutia.
According to Bhutia, the AIFF was determined to get the best man for the juniors as they represented the future of Indian football.
"The under 17 coach's name will be finalised by the end of this month. This is a very important job and we are interested in decent spending on the man as the boys who train under him would be our future stars," Bhutia said.
It was learnt that the new coach would be offered a salary of between 15,000 and 20,000 USD per month, as compared to the plus USD 30,000 that was drawn by the previous coach.
"Earlier we used to decide on the name and then accept the salary demand. Now we have decided on a budget and then fit the man in that budget," a source put it this way.
AIFF secretary Kushal Das said that the coach would be based either in Delhi, the federation's headquarters, or Goa where a lot of academies are located.
Bhutia, who has decided to have a final fling at the upcoming I-League and retire after wearing East Bengal club's colours for some more time, felt that the hugely successful ISL and I-League should never be merged.
"I-League is the most important tournament being run by AIFF and should decide which club is represented in the Asian tournaments.
"ISL, which was very successful, should remain separate with six foreign players in the eleven to maintain its higher standards. It should help in attracting kids to the game," said Bhutia.
"The two should not be merged," he insisted.
Under Constantine, the country had improved its ranking from 130 to 109. He was considered to be a hard taskmaster, according to an AIFF source.
"He's a hard taskmaster and our players should be prepared for it," he said.