Five shortlisted for Indian national coaching job

Five candidates for the Indian national team coaching posiotion have been invited to appear before the All India Football Federation's four-member expert committee but Syed Nayeemuddin, a leading defender for the national side in the sixties and seventies, is reportedly favourite to land the top job in Indian football for a third time. A total of 20 coaches sent their applications, out of which five were shortlisted. However Aloke Mukherjee, who functioned as assistant to previous coach Stephen Constantine, is "not inclined" to make the trip to the national capital.

Present coach Sukhwinder Singh is technically not out of reckoning after having met Federation chief Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi to explain the reasons for the team's poor display under him and spell out his "vision for football in the country". The other three two candidates, M Peethambaran (Kerala) and Birbal Singh (Manipur) also have impressive credentials. Peethambaran coached his state to two Santosh Trophy triumphs in 2000-01 and again last year while Birbal has an 'A' level license from the Asian Football Confederation.