The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Tuesday thanked former coach Stephen Constantine for his contribution to the game in the country. Constantine, who had taken over as the head coach of the senior men’s Indian national team in February 2015, announced his decision to step down after India bowed out of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2015 on Monday. Constantine’s contract with the AIFF ran till January 31.Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Congratulates Sunil Chhetri as FIFA Makes 3-Episode Documentary on India Captain

“It’s been a wonderful journey. We have travelled a long distance together, and the world has seen it all. I would like to wish Stephen all the very best for the future, and thank him for all his efforts and contribution towards Indian football,” Patel said in a statement. Also Read - Friendlies - Not So Friendly For India! Hosts Vietnam Crush Sunil Chhetri and Co. 3-0

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das added: “We respect and accept his decision. I would like to thank Stephen for guiding us through a very critical phase in Indian football. Also Read - Bhaichung Bhutia Feels Vietnam Friendlies Will be Important For India Ahead of AFC Asian Cup 2023

“Under his guidance, we witnessed some of the most successful days in Indian football in recent times. It’s time for Indian football to enter a new phase. I wish Stephen all the best in his future endeavours.”

In the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, India, who were clubbed with hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain in Group A, finished on four points. After a splendid start in the tournament where India beat Thailand 4-1, they went down to 0-2 to UAE and 0-1 to Bahrain in the next two games, thus bowing out.