Shillong, Jan 16: The All India Football Federation yesterday thanked Stephen Constantine for his service as manager of the Indian men’s football team.

Constantine resigned immediately after India’s 1-0 defeat in the AFC Asian Cup to Bahrain, which knocked them out of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates on Monday night. India had started their campaign with a terrific 4-1 victory over Thailand before losing to hosts UAE 2-0.

“It’s been a wonderful journey. We have travelled a long distance together, and the world has seen it all. I would like to wish Stephen all the very best for the future, and thank him for all his efforts and contribution towards Indian football,” the AIFF President Praful Patel said in a statement.

Sunil Chhetri, who said he was surprised by Constantine’s decision to resign, wished him the best of luck for the future.

“He did really well for the country. Look at the records, the number of boys he has given chances. I just want to thank him from me and all the boys for doing a great job and just hope wherever he goes, wish him all the luck,” Chhetri said.

Constantine’s contract was set to run out at the end of this month. The Briton had taken charge of the Indian team in 2015. He had previously managed the team in 2002-2005. He has also managed the national sides of Nepal, Malawi, Sudan and Rwanda, besides various clubs.

During his second stint in charge India broke into the top 100 of the FIFA rankings. They are currently ranked 97.

Who will take over the reins now is yet to be seen, but former India striker IM Vijayan told that he would like to see an Indian coach lead the national team.

Photo credit: All India Football Federation

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