Portuguese Luis Norton de Matos is likely to be appointed as the head coach of India Under-17 World Cup football team as he emerged as the number one choice of the All India Football Federation to take over the job.
The 63-year-old de Matos, a former Portugal international and later manager of Benfica reserve side as well as Guinea-Bissau national team, will meet the Sports Ministry officials next week to chalk out his contract details.
The post of head coach of Indian football team for the Under-17 FIFA World Cup to be held in six cities from October 6-26 remained vacant after the sacking of Nicolai Adam earlier this month.
De Matos was among the candidates interviewed by a committee of the AIFF earlier this week and he came out as the front-runner for the job.
“De Matos is the number choice of the committee. He will come to India and meet the Sports Secretary and AIFF President and then we will take a decision,” AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, a member of the AIFF comittee, told PTI today.
“The final decision on the coach’s appointment will be taken by Mr. Praful Patel (AIFF President),” he added.
A Benfica youth product, de Matos spent all his playing career in Portugal and then later moved to management. He was in the Benfica reserved side for two years before plying trade in some Primeira Liga (Portuguese division) clubs and then to Standard Liege, one of the most successful top flight clubs in Belgium.
He donned Portugal jersey in five international matches in 1982.
After retiring as a player in 1987, de Matos took up to coaching in 1989. He mostly coached second division sides in Portugal, including Benfica ‘B’ team, before becoming the manager of Guinea-Bissau men’s national team from 2010-2012.
He also recently applied for the job of Rwanda national football team.