NEW DELHI, March 3: Khalid Jamil seems to be a man with a Midas touch. In the 2016-17 I-League season, Jamil took over the reins of Aizawl FC, a team that was supposed to be relegated the previous season but due to the withdrawal of Goan teams, it got reinstated.
The team went on to create history by becoming the first Northeastern team to win the championship, under the able guidance of Jamil, who is presently coaching the NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) in the Indian Super League (ISL), becoming the first Indian head coach of an ISL side.
Jamil, an AFC Pro licence holder coach, has lived up to his reputation in the ISL too, taking NEUFC to the semifinals in the ongoing season of the league after finishing third in the group stage. In the last four stage, NEUFC will take on ATK Mohun Bagan.
While Jamil has coached several teams, including the big guns like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, he seems to be more successful with Northeastern sides.
Speaking to IANS, Jamil gave all credits to his players when asked whether he has some special bonding with the Northeastern teams.
“It is not that I have done anything special with these boys. In Northeast, the local boys are very hard working. They give their 100 per cent for the team. Also, the team combination has been very good with the right mix of foreign and local players,” Jamil told IANS.
“It feels good when as an Indian coach you become successful,” Jamil said, adding that it is a stop-gap arrangement and he has to wait and see how things shape up.
“See, this is a stop-gap arrangement. We have been able to reach the last four stage. We still have a long way to go. Yes, it is good that we have been able to reach thus far,” Jamil said, who took over as head coach of NEUFC midway into the league after Spaniard coach Gerard Nus stepped down.
Jamil is of the opinion that given an opportunity, Indian coaches can compete with foreign coaches.
“Foreign coaches are good, no doubt. But then, Indian coaches should also be given an opportunity to showcase their talent. However, I will repeat that this time, it is a stop-gap arrangement. Will wait and watch for the next edition of the competition,” Jamil signed off. – IANS