New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided to find a replacement for Nicolai Adam within "a month's time" more or less confirming the imminent exit of India's U-17 coach.
The federation will be putting up an advertisement, inviting applications for the crucial post, according to well-placed AIFF sources, who added that they were fully backed by the Sports Ministry.
Barely nine months before India hosts the FIFA U-17 football World Cup, national coach Adam is to be shown the door after complaints of "physical abuse" by players comprising the squad and also owing to non-performance in recent times.
A reliable source said that Nicolai has no other option but to resign, and that his preference doesn't matter at this juncture.
The AIFF will try to "find a replacement as soon as possible, within a month's time at the most", given that there is not enough time left for the mega event which is scheduled to be held from October 6 to 28.
"Nicolai will have to go and the plan is to appoint a new coach as soon as possible, within a month," the source said.
It had been learnt that AIFF president Praful Patel had told Nicolai, in a meeting here on Tuesday, to quit on his own or be sacked. Sports Minister Vijay Goel also took a note of the issue and have called for detailed report from the AIFF on the matter related to Nicolai.
Nicolai, a former Azerbaijan Under-19 coach, was appointed in 2015 as head coach to assemble a competitive Indian team to play in the Under-17 FIFA World Cup to be held in six cities across the country from October 6 to 28.
The Indian Under-17 side had recently participated in a tournament in Russia where they finished at the bottom out of 16 teams.
The AIFF issued a denial on Wednesday, saying it had not sacked Nicolai but sources said it was done to ensure that the issue does not blow out of proportion and to get the resignation of the head coach in his own.
Nicolai came with the right credentials, having worked wonders with the Azerbaijan youth setup, guiding the country's under-19 team to the UEFA Elite level.
A former DFB (German Football Association) International Development Officer, Nicolai has scouted far and wide, unearthing a batch of youngsters, who have done well during exposure trips to Germany, Norway and West Asia.