Igor Stimac’s rough breakup with India drags on after World Cup failure

Disappointing results, heart disturbances and astrological accusations led to sacking and incendiary statements

Back in 2013, the wife of South Korea’s national team coach, Choi Kang-hee, complained that three weeks of solid drinking with officials, journalists and sponsors was making her husband ill. That’s nothing; Igor Stimac’s parting shot after five years as India’s head coach was to accuse the All India Football Federation (AIFF) of making his life so difficult that he needed heart surgery. There have been a few rough breakups in football, but this particular one has resulted in legal threats and a 1,500-word rebuttal statement.

Stimac was fired on 17 June. On his way out, the 56-year-old former Croatia international jumped into a press conference with the kind of robust challenge that West Ham and Derby fans of a certain age will remember well, telling Indian reporters that their football had been “imprisoned” by an AIFF which he claimed was more interested in looking good than actually improving anything. “The sooner [president] Kalyan Chaubey leaves, the better it will be for Indian football,” Stimac said on 21 June. “The president of the AIFF gets pictures with people in important positions just for social media attention.”

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