Northeast United FC finally put all discussions to an end by naming Khalid Jamil as head coach after his bold exploits last term. At the helm, Jamil becomes the ‘first-ever Indian head coach‘ in Indian Super League history.
Jamil was at the helm in the Highlanders’ exquisite campaign last season in the Indian top-flight. He piloted the team to their second playoffs. He was handed the reins when booking a berth in the playoffs looked to be impossible. However, Jamil quietened critics and gave the world a coup of what Indian coaches bring to the table.
Northeast United are ready and head coach Khalid Jamil will be leading the charge. Here we look into why he is the best person to head the Highlanders.
Consistency is Key
The dawn of a new season has had a new boss at NEUFC until now. Switching up every now and again become a regular ordeal for the Highlanders. However, Jamil’s arrival has ended this ‘not so cool’ trend. He stands as the very first coach in NEUFC’s history will continue for a second season running. So far, the Highlanders record having 9 coaches with Jamil filling in as interim coach twice.
Northeast United seem to have grasped the value of stability in modern-day football. Consequences of starting over every season became evident to the management. They have been at odds with regard to inconsistency of continuity. Thus, Jamil’s selection provides them with substantial stability going into the new season.
Rapport with domestic players
The foreign players’ rule has been augmented this term. Hence, the significance of domestic players has risen. By the league’s latest guidelines, the starting XI can feature only four foreigners. Management arrived at this ruling with the better development of Indian players in mind. No one can deny that Khalid Jamil knows NEUFC the best.
Indian Football has received priceless gifts from Khalid Jamil as years pass. From Jayesh Rane and Ashutosh Mehta at Aizawl FC to VP Suhair and Imran Khan at Northeast last season, he brought the best in a number of players. He instilled in them a crucial confidence and they did not disappoint him.
He has a good understanding of the Indian players. This will prove to be vital in their all-round growth. Also, a domestic coach leading a high-level side is what India, a growing footballing nation requires.
History with Indian sides
Khalid Jamil’s track record with clubs previously managed has always been exemplary. With his help, Mumbai FC escaped the clutches of relegation. In 2016, Jamil’s Aizawl FC made history when they were the first northeastern side to be crowned I-league champions. Runs with Aizawl and Mumbai are evidence enough of his ability to attain collective objectives with limited assets.
The ex-Mohun Bagan coach penned a 3 year deal with NEUFC in 2019 as the academy head and the Indian assistant first team coach. Later, he was appointed the role of interim head coach following the sacking of Robert Jarni. Northeast recorded a 9th position finish then and Jamil was unable to do much with an injury-plagued team.
Last term, Gerard Nus was asked to pack his bags and Jamil returned. He eclipsed expectations once more and led NorthEast United to an impossible 3rd place finish. He helped them reach the playoffs too. Unfortunately, a penalty miss prevented Jamil’s side from making it to the finals.
Promising times lie ahead
The new NEUFC coach has never had a star-studded lineup to direct, but the statistics speak volumes. Winning the I-league with Aizawl proved to all that for him, the sky was the limit. Jamil showed it once more with the Highlanders last campaign.
He converted Northeast United from ‘Volkswagen to Ferrari’. He instilled a never-say-die attitude in the players which was crucial in them putting up a 10-match winning streak. The streak included a brilliant victory run ATK Mohun Bagan, Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City FC.
Under his tutelage, NEUFC bagged 18 goals and won 6 out of 11 games. They set a 1.6 goals per match average and 2 points every game during this excellent run. Northeast United are club which is financially not strong compared to their league counterparts. They were in need of someone who could get the best out of what was available and Khalid Jamil has stepped up.
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