Luis Norton de Matos, the Portuguese coach who led India in last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup, has stepped down from his position on Wednesday citing personal circumstances. His decision was confirmed via a release sent by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which stated that he was released from his responsibilities on mutual understanding.
The release stated that Matos had written a letter to the AIFF, wherein he expressed his inability to continue his role here in India. He stated that the combination of a number of personal emergencies as well as a knee injury he suffered meant that he needed to stay with his family in Portugal.
Matos wrote, “Certain personal reasons, chiefly the health-related issues of my parents have made it difficult for me to continue in the position of Head Coach, Indian Arrows and stay far away from Europe for the entire season. Hence, with deep regret I have decided to step down as the Head Coach of the Indian Arrows, India’s U-19 National team.”
He added, “I like to thank AIFF for providing me the opportunity to work with the National youth team. I thank my staff, my players and wish them the best in their careers. Once my personal issues settle down I shall be more than happy to contribute in the future as and when I can. I have deep affection and love towards India & Indian Football & wish AIFF good luck for future,” his letter added.
Matos was appointed as the head coach of the Indian U-17 team a few weeks prior to the World Cup, which was held in India in October last year. Drawn against USA, Colombia and Ghana in Group A, the Indian colts gave a good account of themselves despite losing all three of their matches. USA and Ghana blanked them 3-0 and 4-0 respectively, but against Colombia, the young Blue Tigers were on the verge of an upset as they lost 2-1, with Jeakson Singh scoring the country’s first and only goal at the World Cup.
Matos also took charge of the Indian Arrows, a developmental team that featured players from India’s U-17 and U-19 national teams, and took them through the 2017-18 I-League campaign. The Arrows finished bottom of the 10-team league, picking up four wins and three draws in the 18 games they played.