INDIAN FOOTBALL

Northeast United name Khalid Jamil as new head coach

Luis Enrique

Northeast United have named interim manager Khalid Jamil as their new head coach. With it, he becomes the first Indian to achieve this position.

It was Jamil who took Aizawl FC and the northeast demesne to their first-ever I-League title in 2017. Acting in a provisional capacity, he is the only Indian gaffer to lead his side to the Indian Super League knockout stages when NEUFC made it to the semi-final for a second time.

On October 24, Jamil reached a milestone for Indian managers – when he was unveiled as the new boss. There was much speculation, starting last March when the rule regarding foreign coaches was abolished. This opened up new possibilities for Pro Licensed Indian coaches when it came to taking over teams.

Northeast United set ISL milestone with Khalid Jamil selection

Over the seasons, a number of Indian coaches have assumed the position of assistant coach. Their role was mainly acting as a link between the players and the foreign head coach. In 2019, Jamil signed for NEUFC as the assistant coach to gaffer Gerard Nus.

However in January, following a disappointing run, NEUFC decided to look for leadership elsewhere. However, they did not look far as Khalid Jamil was given the responsibility.

Under Khalid, the Highlanders went on a 9-game unbeaten run. This set of victories was especially encouraging with wins over Mumbai City and ATKMB. Unfortunately, ATKMB prevailed in the two-legged semi-finals.

The interim coach quite literally stepped in and changed their fate. NEUFC now chose to return the favour by appointing him as the new head coach. This marks a step in a favourable direction for the ISL.

The future now seems brighter for Pro Licensed coaches like Naushad Moosa, Derrick Pereira, Thangboi Singto, etc, who have been stand-ins for a while. Former India team players like Clifford Miranda, Renedy Singh, Mahesh Gawli and others can also benefit from this scenario.

Northeast United have taken a keen interest in homegrown and Indian players as the years go by. They have made a number of signings as well. Players like Tondonba Singh, Emanual Lalchhanchhuaha, Hernan Santana, Laldanmawia Ralte and others sport NEUFC colors.

Khalid Jamil has had a long-standing association with developing local talents in the region. Now, he will look to shape the team according to the club and his ideas.

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