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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 12:55 GMT
Constantine's rising stock
By Stuart Roach

Stephen Constantine talks to his India players

When the list of usual suspects for a managerial role is reeled off, the name Stephen Constantine rarely makes an appearance.

Constantine is one of England's highest-qualified coaches and has enjoyed instant success.

But, as national coach of India, he remains somewhat out of sight and out of mind.

Voted Asia football's manager of the month for October, Constantine is lauded in his adopted country.

He recently guided India to the final of the first-ever Afro Asia Games, beating a Zimbabwe team ranked 85 places above India in the world rankings and losing 1-0 to Uzbekistan at the final hurdle.

Yet when his name was suggested to West Ham and Crystal Palace in their search for a new manager, Constantine was seemingly granted as much credence as fans who apply for the job just for the fun of it.

"In England, we are quite insular and don't take a great deal of interest in football outside our own country," Constantine told BBC Sport.

"I think that is a great shame as more and more you see the influence of foreign players and coaches, and the positive effect they are having on the English game.

There is a lot of competition for jobs in England
Stephen Constantine

"In England, the criteria for appointing a manager are, well, a little unconventional.

"Clubs don't look at the qualifications, or it may be the last thing they look at. It seems they look at who the applicant is and where did he play."

While Constantine luxuriates in his hero's lifestyle in India, he remains hopeful of one day being given the opportunity to coach in his own country.

Having not made his name as a player in England - instead making his living in the North American professional leagues - Constantine has had to earn his reputation the hard way.

But India's rise as a football nation could secure the recognition he deserves.

Constantine returns to England in the new year to continue his Fifa Pro License coaching course - and once that latest certificate is in the bag he will be more qualified than many Premiership managers.

"There are many good managers in England and there is a lot of competition for jobs.

"I just feel sometimes the chairmen are concentrating too much on the reputation of the applicant as a player and not looking at what the applicant as a manager can do.

Gerard Houllier and Arsene Wenger's appointments were based purely on what they had achieved as managers or coaches and what qualifications they had
Stephen Constantine

"How else could the likes of Gerard Houllier and Arsene Wenger get their positions? Their appointments were based purely on what they had achieved as managers or coaches and what qualifications they had.

"Sadly for me, elsewhere in England this has not been the case. It is where did you play and what do you know about the Second Division or such like.

"I have applied to quite a few clubs. I can only guess that, as many of the chairmen have not heard of me they tend to dismiss the application out of hand."

Constantine's stock may well rise in the future as regulations are put in place to determine a manager's qualifications.

By 2010, all managers must hold at least the Uefa B Pro License, or its equivalent, a qualification surprisingly few managers currently boast.

Most countries must have the qualifications in place by 2006, but England has been made a special case because of the alarming number of under-qualified coaches.

A course held last summer allowed managers to complete a number of the tasks required on the pro license, enabling them to coach at their clubs with the understanding they have until 2010 to complete the rest of the work.

But completing the course may also earn Constantine recognition, a commodity held in abundance in his adopted India, but in short supply in England.

The burgeoning success of Gary Johnson at Yeovil, following a successful stint as Latvia manager, may have encouraged clubs to cast a wider net in their search for a new manager.

But, for now, Constantine will simply keep up the good work in India, much to the delight of a growing nation of football-lovers.





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