AIFF tip IM Vijayan, Shabbir Ali and Arun Ghosh for Padma Shri, sets Asian Cup quarters target for coach Igor Stimac – News9 LIVE

IM Vijayan (left) and Manoranjan Bhattacharya are part of the AIFF’s technical committee. Photo Credit: @IndianFootball
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will recommend IM Vijayan, Shabbir Ali, Arun Ghosh and Jeje Lalpekhlua for the Padma Shri and Arjuna Awards respectively, while Manoranjan Bhattacharya will be nominated for the Major Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement.
The decision was taken at a meeting in Kolkata by the AIFF’s new executive committee, attended by Vijayan, the Federation’s technical committee chairman, Bhattacharya, its deputy chairman, and Ali, the advisory committee chairman, apart from new secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran and Bhaichung Bhutia, who lost to Chaubey in the presidential elections.
All players chosen for recommendation are established names in Indian football of varying generations with a history of representing the national team with distinction. While Vijayan is an Arjuna Award recipient in 2003, Ali received the Dhyan Chand Award in 2011. Vijayan was also nominated for the Padma Shri in 2020 by the previous AIFF executive committee headed by Praful Patel.
The Padma Awards, usually handed over on January 26 on occasion of Republic Day, are bestowed on individuals by the Union government on recommendation of national sports federations.
In 2022, former goalkeeper Brahmanand Sankhwalkar was conferred with the Padma Shri, becoming the eighth Indian footballer to receive the prestigious award.
Chaired by the new AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey, himself a former India international, the ExCo also decided to formally extend national coach Igor Stimac’s contract till 2023 AFC Asian Cup, for which the team have qualified under him, based on the technical committee’s recommendation.
“His contract would be considered for extension beyond the Asian Cup if India finishes within the top eight teams of the tournament. His remuneration too will depend on the team’s performance,” an official, who attended the meeting but didn’t wish to be identified, told News9 Sports.
“The performance target is to be top-eight in the competition. If that target is achieved, then automatically the contract will be extended to another competition whichever is the priority for AIFF,” Prabhakaran said after the meeting on Monday.

During #IgorStimac‘s tenure, @IndianFootball have qualified for @afcasiancup after winning all three final qualifying round matches against Cambodia, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.#IndianFootball @stimac_igor #aiff #aiff22

In the Croat’s tenure, India have qualified for the continental showpiece event after winning all three final qualifying round matches against Cambodia, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
The 2023 edition will mark the first time when India have qualified for the event for two successive editions after bowing out from the group stage in the 2019 edition.
Stimac, who took charge in 2019, has called up 24 players for a three-day camp till September 21, following which a 23-member squad would fly to Vietnam for two international friendlies against Singapore (September 24) and Vietnam (September 27).
The AIFF, run by new secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran, also formed several committees for smooth governance with Mizoram FA’s Lalnghinglova Hmar helming the leagues committee, vice president NA Harris in charge of the committee to oversee development of the upcoming National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata.
Kerala FA’s Anil Kumar was named the chairman of the competitions committee while Odisha FA’s Avijit Paul was the man who would run the state development committee.
The AIFF also decided to put together a national futsal team which would participate in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) sanctioned tournaments and earmarked October 29 as a likely date to begin the 2022-23 I-League.
Bhutia, who objected to Prabhakaran’s appointment as secretary general as conflict of interest since he was a voter in the AIFF elections, claimed that his efforts to raise the issue on Monday was shot down. He had earlier abstained from attending the first ExCo meeting of the new panel on September 4.
“Bhaichung had suggestions on other issues but didn’t raise this issue at all,” an AIFF ExCo member, however, claimed.
With India hosting the U-17 Women’s World Cup from October 11, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who held a meeting with Chaubey and Prabhakaran with Doha earlier in the month, could fly down to India in the last week of October and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The AIFF ExCo also rubber stamped all technical Committee’s recommendations including use Indian coaches in all age groups, discontinuation of Indian Arrows team in I-League and replacing it with an Elite Youth League, and appointment of more female coaches for the women’s national teams. Viability of starting an institutional league would also be undertaken.
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