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AIFF decides on Karim as national coach

Kolkata: Salgaocar`s Karim Bencherifa is in line to become India coach after All India Football Federation decided to offer him the national job but on condition that he is released by his club.

AIFF`s emergency committee meeting last evening unanimously agreed on Bencherifa after he guided Salgaocar to their fourth Federation Cup title after defeating East Bengal 3-1 in the final. It was the Goan side`s first Federation Cup title after a gap of 14 years.

The current vacancy has arisen after Dempo`s Armando Colaco turned down a one-year contract offered by the AIFF after his four-month stint with the national side ended today.

Colaco had served as India coach without being released by Dempo of which he is also the secretary but the AIFF said Bencherifa will have to leave Salgaocar if he has to take up the national job.

The Moroccan has one year left in his contract with Salgaocar, the current I-League as well as Federation Cup champions.

"We have decided on Karim Bencherifa to coach India. But it won`t be justified taking him as coach unless Salgaocar release him," AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das told reporters today.

He said Bencherifa has expressed his interest to coach India but since he has a three-year contract with Salgaocar the ball is in the court of the Goan club.

"Salgaocar are a part of AIFF family. So Bencherifa too is a part of AIFF. We have to talk to (the club owner) Mr Shivanand Salgaocar… If he agrees, Karim will be India coach," Das said.

Asked if AIFF had a plan B if Salgaocar refuse to release Bencherifa, Das said the federation also thought of Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira and David Booth.

"But Pereira too is associated with a club (Pune FC). So we will have to wait and see," he said.

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