Stephen Constantine guided the India football team to the AFC Asia Cup for the first time in eight years. (Image credit: Twitter)
Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine has stepped down after the team's shock 0-1 defeat to Bahrain which led to its exit from the showpiece Asian Cup. The All India Football Federation, in its official twitter handle, said that the 56-year-old Constantine has resigned."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," the tweet said. His contract was to end on January 31. Constantine's resignation came after India crashed out of the showpiece Asian Cup under dramatic circumstances in Sharjah on Monday. India were on the verge of booking its maiden knock-out round berth as the final Group A match was 0-0 till the 90th minute when Bahrain earned a penalty which the West Asian team converted to win the game under dramatic circumstances.
India needed just a draw to qualify for the Round of 16 but the defeat meant that it finished at the bottom of the four-team Group A to crash out of the tournament. The Anglo-Cypriot coach took over the reigns of the team in 2015 for an initial two-year tenure. He was given one-year contract extension twice. It was his second stint as India coach after serving as coach in 2002-05.
India crashed out of the AFC Asian Cup after tasting 0-1 defeat by the hands of Bahrain in the final Group A match in Sharjah on Monday. Bahrain’s Jamal Rashed converted a penalty in the 91st minute after India captain Pronay Halder committed a careless tackle inside the box. The game was a must win game for Bahrain as the desperation to score a goal was quite evident from their side. The Indian side left no stone unturned in defending the attack every single time it was in the stoppage time when Jamal scored a goal, giving Bahrain much-needed win in the end.
India finished outside the top two after the group’s other game between UAE and Thailand ended in a 1-1 draw. Earlier in the tournament, India defeated Thailand 4-1 and lost a game to UAE by 0-2 but it was quite applauding for the Indian side to hold on Bahrain for 90 minutes.