THE ALL INDIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION HAS narrowed down its search for the next Technical Director down to three candidates.
According to PTI, the shortlisted candidates recommended by the AIFF Technical Committee to AIFF Executive Committee are Gaioz Darsadze, Doru Isac and Jorge Castelo.
Gaioz Darsadze, who hails from Tblisi, Georgia, was active as a professional footballer in the 1980s. He started out in local clubs and went on to play for some of the biggest clubs from his hometown that played in the Georgian top flight league, including Locomotives Tblisi, Spartak Tblisi and Dinamo Tblisi. He also played for Russian club Zenit Leningrad and Ukrainian side Krystal Kherson.
He began a coaching career at Samgurali Cchaltubo, and in 2003 took over as the manager of Ameri Tblisi. He also went on to manage the Georgia U-21 team and the Georgia national team. His resume does speak of the 360-degree football experience that a Technical Director needs but in recent years he has not been active in a prominent role in high level football.
Then there's Doru Isac from Romania, whom many are pegging as the frontrunner for this role. He was also the only one of these three candidates who travelled to India to interview for the AIFF TD job in person. But since he was stuck in the Delhi airport he had to participate in the interview over Skype.
Isac has a wealth of managerial experience which started at AS Nancy Academy in France. He also coached extensively in Asia, in Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, along with taking up the role of Technical Director in mutiple clubs and academies. At Nagoya Grampus Eight, where he served as the TD, he was an assistant to Arsene Wenger.
His resume includes years spent at some of the biggest clubs in Asia, including Al-Hilal and Al-Sadd. He was the assistant manager at the Qatar Olympic team (U-23 with 3 seniors) and managed the Romania U-19 team. For the last 3 years, he has been the Sport Director at Japanese top division club Yokohama F. Marinos.
Jorge Castelo, who is by himself a juggernaut of managerial experience, is the third man in the shortlist. He started out as an assistant manager for Athletico CP. In 1987, he joined Benfica as Chief Scout. He was made Assistant Manager soon afterwards and remained with the club till 1997.
Castelo served as manager and assistant manager in multiple Portuguese clubs after that, including Gil Vicente, Felgueiras, Campomaiorense and Farense. He returned to Sporting CP as manager in 2012 and served for 7 months. After this, he worked as a commentator on SporTV, but returned to administration when he joined Chinese Super League club Shandong Luneng as assistant manager in 2015. He was in charge when Shandong Luneng faced the then I-League champions Mohun Bagan in the AFC Champions League qualifiers.
But while Castelo has no dearth of coaching experience, he has not served in any national team so far, and has no experience as a Technical Director to a Federation.
The final decision regarding the appointment of the Technical Director is expected to be made soon by the AIFF Executive Committee.