Former national football team striker IM Vijayan has suggested that the Blue Tigers should opt for an Indian coach rather than looking abroad for foreign management.
Stephen Constantine handed his resignation from the Indian football team after Sunil Chhetri and his men were knocked out of the AFC Asian Cup by Bahrain and the AIFF is set to begin it's search for a new coach for the squad.
Speaking to Goal, Vijayan spoke about a variety of issues that need to be taken care of in future, especially giving chances to Indian coaches. He started out by stating, "India have been good under Stephen Constantine. What has happened has happened. India have a lot of qualified coaches. I think they should be given a chance."
Revealing the fact that Indian coaches have merit and should never be overlooked, Vijayan pointed out, "There are good coaches in India. When we played for India, we came to the 94th spot in the FIFA Rankings under an Indian coach. India's performances were good when (Syed) Nayeemuddin and Sukhwinder Singh were at the helm. My opinion is to give this Indian team to an Indian coach for the next two-three years. Indian coaches know the Indian players well."
Speaking about the Asian Cup, Vijayan particularly critiqued the way India approached their final group game, especially after decent performances in the first two games. He said, "We played well in the first two matches. But the performance in the third game was really bad. So bad that they were not able to attack at all in 90 minutes. We did not see attacking moves at all. If only we had played half as well as we did in the last two matches."
Pointing out probable reasons for the performance, Vijayan claimed, "I don't know if India played for a draw but the football was really, really bad. Bahrain attacked well and we kept dropping deep. I think India played for a draw."
He continued, "Our fitness levels were good against Thailand and UAE. I don't know what happened against Bahrain. There was no need to substitute Ashique Kuruniyan. With Ashique, we had an attacking outlet to play the ball to."
Speaking specifically about Anas' injury, the legendary striker stated, "Unfortunately, Anas got injured within the first few minutes. When one of the key defensive players get injured like that, the team gets weakened. Salam Ranjan Singh, his replacement, is not going to have the same amount of confidence as Anas."
Finally revealing on what he expects out of whoever is appointed the next coach of the national team, Vijayan concluded, "We can expect a shuffling in the team with the new coach. New players will feature. The likes of Jobby Justin need to be called up to national team camps if not the final squads. There are several good players in I-League. Some shuffling of the squad is needed."