Stephen Constantine resigned from his post of Indian football team’s head coach after the Blue Tigers suffered an exit from the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
India had to bow out of the tournament after they suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss against Bahrain at the Sharjah Stadium on Monday. Jamal Rashed’s 91st-minute penalty sent India on their way home, after a solid defensive performance from Constantine’s men.
This was Constantine’s second stint with the Indian side after having been at the helm between 2002 and 2005. He returned to the hot seat after taking over the reins for a second time in 2015, succeeding Netherlands’ Wim Koevermans. Under the tutelage of Constantine, India did make progress, especially in Fifa world rankings, when they broke into the top-100 last year.
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 #Indianfootball: Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF pic.twitter.com/S792tJ6r1h
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) 14 January 2019
Addressing the media after the match, the Englishman said, “I’ve been here for four years. My objective from day one was to qualify for the Asian Cup and I’ve done that and we’ve broken a few records as we’d done that. I’m exceptionally proud of the players and everything they’ve given.”
“To go out in the 90th minute with a penalty… it’s really tough. The boys gave everything, I don’t think we created as much as we normally do. The boys are sick as you can imagine and I am disappointed for them. They gave everything they could in the last few games,” ESPN quoted him as saying.
“We didn’t intentionally set up for a draw. obviously, Bahrain started with real energy, looking to get the early goal and as the game wore on, this is maybe a little inexperience on our side… we started defending deeper and deeper and deeper and in the end, we got punished.”
“But I thought we were unlucky. We defended well for ninety-something minutes and as the 70th and 75th minute came on the boys thought, okay we can hold on. Bahrain was playing with six forwards and four in midfield, it was tough, but to get beaten by a penalty is harsh in anybody’s eyes,” he added.