These tacticians also have a colorful playing career in their past.

Indian football is yearning for quality Indian coaches with many initiatives undertaken to develop coaching at the grassroots level. During the last few months, we have seen online seminars been organized to educate the aspiring tacticians and help them grow in successful Indian coaches. Encouragingly, we have also witnessed former Indian players foraying into coaching and attaining success in the world of management.

On that note, let’s take a look at five former Indian footballers who have made a name for themselves as coaches in recent times.

5. Syed Sabir Pasha

A former Indian International, Syed Sabir Pasha began his professional career with Indian Bank in 1991 and represented the same club throughout his playing days. He also scored the winning goal against Bangladesh in the 1995 South Asian Games final to help his nation clinch a gold medal. After hanging up his boots in 2007, Pasha assumed coaching duties at Indian Bank.

Later, he attained his AFC A license in 2010 before being named head coach for Tamil Nadu in 2012 for the Santosh Trophy, where he led them to the finals of the tournament. In 2014, Pasha was appointed as the head coach of the AIFF Elite Academy. Competing in the U-19 I-league, the 47-year-old impressively guided the side to three successive titles, and his team was even undefeated for two consecutive seasons. Pasha is currently one of the few Indian the assistant coachs in the ISL, at Chennaiyin FC.  

4. Sanjoy Sen

During his playing days, Sanjoy Sen turned out for the Railways Football Club in the Calcutta Football League. He began his coaching career with Prayag United in 2010 and made a great impression during his stint with the I-League club. Sen went on to manage Mohammedan Sporting, helping them gain promotion to the I-League.

He also helped the Kolkata outfit to win the 2013 Durand Cup and 2014 IFA Shield. However, he is most renowned for his time at Mohun Bagan, where he led the Mariners to the I-League triumph in his very first season and also won the 2015-16 Federation Cup. One of the few Indian coaches in the ISL, he is currently associated with ATK Mohun Bagan after initially joining them as head of youth development in 2018.

3. Derrick Pereira

Pereira is currently working as the head coach of the Indian U-23 team

Derrick Pereira spent the majority of his playing career at Goan club Salgaocar, besides being a part of the national team from 1984 to 1991. After pulling down the curtains on his playing career, Pereira took up a coaching role at Salgaocar U-19s and proceeded to take charge of a number of other teams such as Vasco, Mahindra United, and Churchill Brothers among others.

The 58-year-old won the National Football League with Mahindra United in his first season itself and lifted the Federation Cup with them in 2005. He joined FC Goa as the head of youth development in 2017 before becoming the assistant manager of the Gaurs. Pereira was later made the technical director and was also appointed as the head coach of the Indian U-23 team for the AFC U-23 qualifiers.  

2. Bibiano Fernandes

Watch full interview with Indian U-16 team head coach Bibiano Fernandes

Bibiano Fernades is one of the promising Indian coaches in the country. As a player, he had a very modest playing career, plying his trade for the likes of Churchill Brothers, Dempo, Sporting Goa and East Bengal among other clubs. So far, Fernandes has provided a good account of himself and all signs suggest that he could become one of the top Indian coachs in the coming years.

Appointed as the coach of the junior national team in 2017, he guided the youngsters to the SAFF U-15 title in 2017 and 2019. Moreover, under his stewardship, the U-16 side reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship.

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1. Khalid Jamil

One of the few Indian coachs who is seen with the highest esteem in the country, Khalid Jamil is certainly one to watch out for. After a career plagued by injuries that inevitably led to an early retirement, Jamil didn’t waste any time stepping into management as he took charge of erstwhile Mumbai FC. He did a commendable job there as he kept them in the league despite operating on a shoestring budget.

Following his spell at Mumbai, the 43-year-old joined Aizawl FC, where he managed to rewrite history books by helping the club to win the I-league. After his tenure with the Mizoram-based side, his services were acquired by East Bengal for a stunning ₹1.25 Crores, however, he ended up moving to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, a season later. Ahead of the sixth edition of the ISL, Jamil became the assistant coach at NorthEast United and later held the post of the interim manager following the exit of head coach Robert Jarni.

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