The Indian football team's spirited showings in recent times seem to be having a ripple effect with the position of the men's coach attracting over 250 applications, an unprecedented number that also includes some well-known names from Europe.
The post has been left vacant since Stephen Constantine resigned following the Indian team's failure to make the knockouts of the AFC Asian Cup after coming close to doing so.
Contrary to speculations doing the rounds, All India Football Federation (AIFF) sources categorically denied that they are not exactly looking to recruit a high-profile name. In the recent past, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had also said that they would appoint a coach based on the team's requirements and not get carried away by big names.
The list of applicants also includes coaches from the Indian Super League and I-League.
"The big names doing the rounds need not necessarily fulfil the criteria of the AIFF. Early next week the concerned committee will make a short-list and the candidates would then be interviewed by the technical committee, and based on its recommendations, the executive committee would make the appointment from among the final list," a well-placed AIFF source said.
Established names doing the rounds are Italian Giovanni De Biasi, Hakan Ericson of Sweden, France's Raymond Domnech and England's Sam Allardyce.
While these are undoubtedly big names, the AIFF has also received applications from people who do not have the credentials and licence.
The deadline for applying for the top job ended on March 29.
Among others, Bengaluru FC's highly successful former coach Albert Roca has also emerged as the frontrunner for the job, with many national team players favouring his appointment.
Under Roca, Bengaluru FC played four finals in his two seasons in charge - making the final of the AFC Cup in 2016, the Federation Cup in 2017 and the ISL and Super Cup in 2018.
The team won the Federation Cup and the Super Cup, but missed out on the AFC Cup and the ISL titles.
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