Set to begin his second stint as Indian football head coach with a match against Nepal next month, Stephen Constantine today said that he is yet to decide on who will captain the national team in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.
India play Nepal on March 12 in Guwahati in the first round of the qualifiers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Constantine said Sunil Chhetri would not be the automatic choice to wear the captain’s armband in that match.
“I have not spoken to Sunil. He captained in India’s last international match. But I have not decided on who will captain the side against Nepal,” Constantine said in his first press conference after his appointment as the Indian team head coach here.
“All the players will assemble for a camp and then I will select the captain. Anything is possible,” said Constantine, who had coached India between 2002 and 2005 also, when asked whether he has spoken to Chhetri after arriving in India.
While discussing his vision for Indian football, the 52-year-old Englishman said Indian football was not in the best of situations and the country would need to do a lot to raise its profile.
“We have a lot of work ahead. I will do whatever I can. Of course, it (Indian football) is not in best situation. But I would want to talk more by results on the field than talking about what ails Indian football,” he said, while conceding that India has fallen down FIFA ranking ladder from the 109th spot during his first stint to the lowest ever 171 now.
Constantine said he would want players of Indian origin to play for the country by issuing multiple country passports till the time they are with the national team.
“I feel some players playing in other countries are good enough to play for India. If these players want to play for India, I would support them. This can happen if the authorities can somehow manage a situation, in which these players can have multiple country passport,” he said.