India's newly-appointed Romanian Technical Director Isac Doru will be a part of the technical committee which will meet here in the capital on Thursday to interview four aspirants for the job of national football coach.
"Doru arrived on Wednesday evening. He has been specially asked to come before the meeting so that he can participate in the selection process of the coach," a senior official of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) told IANS.
Though there are four candidates for the job which has been lying vacant after the exit of Stephen Constantine, federation sources said it could be a straight contest between Croatian coach Igor Stimac and Bengaluru FC's former Spanish coach Albert Roca.
The other two aspirants -- Hakan Ericson of Sweden and Lee Min-sung of South Korea -- have slim chances of making the grade.
While Stimac has the best credentials among the four and could be available for a monthly salary that fits the federation's budget, Roca is believed to have the backing of some influential officials within the AIFF.
The feeling is that Roca's experience of coaching Bengaluru FC for two seasons between 2016 and 2018 could prove to be an advantage. However, Roca's demand for a huge salary has raised a few eyebrows in the federation.
Sources said the majority in the technical committee, headed by Shyam Thapa, is impressed by Stimac's credentials and background both as a former player and a coach. He was a member of the Croatian side that finished fourth in 1998 World Cup in France. As a former national coach, he ensured Croatia's qualification in the 2014 World Cup.
Roca is basically a club coach and except for a short stint with El Salvador, he had never handled a national team. But then, some of the senior members of the Indian national team, including skipper Sunil Chhetri, spoke highly of the Spaniard when his contract with Bengaluru FC came to an end last year.
(Jaydeep Basu can be contacted at email@example.com)
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