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India coach Constantine plans for WC qualifier amid naturalisation debate

India head coach Stephen Constantine previews his side's AFC World Cup qualifier against Iran and discusses the troubles with schedule's between the ISL and World Cup qualifying action.

As national coach Stephen Constantine prepares his squad for the Group D World Cup qualifier against Asian giants Iran in Bengaluru on Sep. 8, the debate about whether to fast-track Europe-based players of Indian origin into the national team rages on.

India's hopes of progressing to the third round of World Cup qualifiers were rocked in June when the Blue Tigers went down 2-1 to a Guam side that consisted of six players that grew up in the United States.

Currently, only Indian passport holders...

Dhar on striking a balance between resurgent I-League and glitzy ISL

I-League chief executive Sunando Dhar says the proposed single league will need to embrace the best qualities of India's two professional competitions.

It's a case of when rather than if. So, when India's two professional leagues become one in the next few years, how can the nation's football bosses keep the majority of fans happy to ensure that the sport continues to grow?

According to I-League chief executive Sunando Dhar, the key will be to embrace the best qualities of both the established I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) -- the glamorous, new kids on the block.

"Football is all about fans," Dhar told ESPN FC from his office in New...

Indian football could have one league in three years, says I-League CEO Dhar

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar says India will have one football league in three to five years.

Indian football could have just one league in as soon as three years, according to I-League chief executive Sunando Dhar.

The traditional I-League has been running alongside the new Indian Super League -- which begins its second season in October. But Dhar told ESPN FC that a single league with up to 15 teams would be established "in three to five years" for the world's largest democracy.

"There are many logistical problems having two different leagues, so stakeholders in Indian football want to...

 By John Duerden

Dreams of Russia over, Constantine plots India's long-term rise

With the dream of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup over, national coach Stephen Constantine is focusing on long-term improvement.

For India, dreams of the 2018 World Cup are already over. Finishing first in the group of five is the only way to guarantee a place in the final round of qualification.

Therefore, losing the first two of eight games -- even before playing top-seeded Iran -- means it is not going to happen. But then, Russia was always a dream.

Stephen Constantine knew this even before he returned to India in January to take charge of the nation for a second time, 12 years after his first stint ended.

The new regime...