The All India Football Federation (AIFF), in an endeavour to provide the Indian senior men's football team with the best possible coaching facilities, advertised for the post of technical director in February. The post has been lying vacant since 2017.
Former India player and coach Savio Medeira had been serving as interim technical director since Scott O’Donell resigned in 2017, citing family reasons.
On April 15, the technical committee chaired by former international Shyam Thapa will appoint one of from the four shortlisted candidates which include Australian Scott O’Donnell, who had served in the same post in the past, Gaioz Darsadze of Georgia, Romanian Doru Isac and Jorge Castelo of Portugal.
Let us now take a detailed look at each of the aforementioned candidates.
A) Jorge Castelo
The 62-year old Portuguese who is a PhD in Sports Science from the University of Lisbon had been a long serving member in the technical team of Benfica from 1987-1998.
He has a vast experience in Portugal's top flight football and has assisted several world famous managers like Sven-Goran Eriksson, Carlos Queiroz.
He had tried his hand at being a manager in a string of second-division clubs like União de Lamas, Farense, União da Madeira and Sanjoanense but was unsuccessful.
Castelo is remembered for his stint with Sporting CP when he assisted manager Ricardo Sa Pinto in 2012.
In his latest stint with Shandong Luneng in 2016, a first tier club in China, he was working as an assistant to Mano Menezes. During his time on the bench, Luneng won eight times, drew and lost seven matches apiece.
B) Gaioz Darsadze
The 54-year old Georgian has remained president of the Georgian Football Coaches Association (GFCA). He was in charge of the Georgia national team in 2005 when the team played six matches (five World Cup qualifiers and one friendly) under his tutelage. In the six matches his team won, drew and lost twice respectively.
Apart from managing a string of domestic Georgian clubs he was also the supervisor of license coaching courses in Georgia.
C) Doru Isac
The 56-year old Romanian comes with a wealth of experience. He was the assistant of Arsène Wenger during his time at the Japanese club Nagoya Grampus. He also has the distinction of working with current Colombia manager Carlos Queiroz and the 'miracle worker' Bora Milutinovic, who was the first coach to take four teams beyond the first round in World Cup.
He took charge of the Romanian U-19 team in 2014 but his time was short-lived as the side lost all the opening three matches in the UEFA Euro Championship Qualifiers.
The tactician has also spent quite a few years in the Middle East as well where he worked at various clubs in Qatar and Saudi Arabia as assistant manager of senior teams and managers of their youth setup.
Isac is currently the sporting director at the Yokohama F. Marinos, who are currently fifth in the K-League with 11 points from six matches. The Marinos were runners-up in J League Cup in the last year.
D) Scott O'Donell
O'Donell played professional football in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. He has worked as a FIFA instructor and a coaching course director for the AFC. After retiring from football, Singapore's Geylang United Football Club was his first full-time coaching job. He received the S-League 'Coach of the Year' 2003 award for guiding Geylang to the second position in both the league and the cup competition.
After quitting his job in Singapore he was roped in by the Cambodia FA to take charge of the senior men's team. But he was released from his duties after a sponsor paying his salary pulled the plug on the deal.
But he was recalled for a second stint in 2009 he chose not to extend his one-year contract with the federation due to an apparent conflict of interest with the Football Federation of Cambodia.
In 2011, O'Donell came to India as the Director of Academies. The first Academy was set up in Mumbai, at Father Agnel School in Vashi. Later, academies also cropped up in Kolkata, Bangalore and two in Goa. It was during his time that the Pailan Arrows project took shape.
In 2016, he was promoted to the role of technical director after Dutchman Rob Baan stepped down.