praful patel
AIFF President Praful Patel [R] seen with outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter [C] during a meetingReuters

Just days after launching a stinging attack on the Indian national football team head coach Stephen Constantine, the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has mellowed down his tone, pledging his support to the British coach.

The latest comments by the AIFF supremo comes after India's World Cup preliminary joint qualification game against Asian powerhouses Iran on Tuesday. Constantine's side put up a good fight, but ultimately succumbed to a 3-0 defeat.

And Patel seems to be happy about the fact that the hosts didn't concede more goals against their much higher-ranked opponents at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore, and was pleased with the performance of Sunil Chhetri and co.

"I don't think Stephen should be worried about his job," Patel told to The Times of India.

"We cannot judge a coach by his performances in three or four games. We must support him. He has a contract and he will be allowed to deliver.

"Stephen was not chosen by an individual. He was selected by a committee of technical people, headed by a footballer [Baichung Bhutia].

"If they thought Stephen was the best person for the job, we should support him."

It was just a week back that the former Aviation Minister of India criticised the ex-Rwanda coach heavily and used the words, "Please don't listen to everything that the coach says", during a meeting in Mumbai between the ISL franchisees and the I-League club owners.

Constantine has been very critical of the unorganised Indian football calendar and he also took potshots at the governing body of Indian football for their over-reliance on television broadcasters in deciding the scheduling of matches.

The Briton also brought out the issue of PIOs (Player of Indian Origins) to represent the national team, to which Patel had responded: "Our coach has mentioned we should get Indians living abroad. We cannot do it. We have a law of the land and it is not going to be changed for one football team."

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