The league is now open to having domestic tacticians at the helm of teams.
According to reports, Indian Super League (ISL) organizers clubs will now be permitted to appoint an Indian head coach to take charge of the team. Ever since the league’s inception, clubs haven’t been allowed to appoint Indian coaches and were left to look for foreign managers to take charge of affairs. The organizers have now decided to change the rules for good as they have allowed the clubs to appoint Indian coaches to manage the club provided they have a Pro-License.
Here are five Indian coaches that could be appointed by the ISL clubs:
5. Santosh Kashyap
An AFC ‘Pro Diploma’ qualified football coach, Santosh is currently heading the Chennaiyin FC Reserves and Academy. During his professional career as a player, he had represented India and was known for his dangerous free-kicks. He started his professional coaching career with Mahindra United U19 team and followed it by taking over at Air India in the I-League. Despite having a poor financial backing at the club, Santosh managed to steer the side away from relegation.
Kashyap has since then managed a lot of teams in the country including the likes of Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar. In 2018, he was appointed as the head coach by defending champions, Aizawl FC and was his last stint in the I-League. He took over the Chennaiyin FC Reserves and Academy in 2019 and has been doing a wonderful job for the club. It remains to be seen if he will get his big break and make it to the touchlines with an Indian Super League team.
4. Syed Sabir Pasha
A former Indian player, Pasha played for Indian Bank in the National Football League from 1991 and ended his career as a player at the same club in 2007. After retiring from football, he went on to become the coach of Indian Bank until 2014. He received his AFC “A” License after completing the course in Japan. He was appointed the head coach of the Tamil Nadu Football team for the Santosh Trophy in 2012 and managed to finish as runners-up of the tournament.
In 2014, Pasha was appointed as the head coach of the AIFF Elite Academy, a youth development project that would play in the I-League U-19 along with other football academies across the country. The team went on to win three successive titles and were undefeated for two seasons straight under his guidance. Many players who were a part of this setup went on to make a big name for themselves in their senior career at top clubs in the country. He is currently the assistant coach at Chennaiyin FC. Pasha’s work with youngsters should be an added incentive for clubs to secure his signature.
3. Khalid Jamil
Born in Kuwait, he decided to represent India and made a few appearances for the national Team in 2001. He played out his career at erstwhile Mumbai FC and announced his retirement in 2009. He turned to a managerial career at the same club and was given high praise for performing consistently despite the limited financial resources.
Khalid scripted India’s own fairy-tale after he took over at Aizawl FC in 2016. Aizawl had escaped from the clutches of relegation and were given an extended run in the 2016-17 season. Khalid Jamil who took over the reins of the club, scripted history, as the side went on to win the I-League that season and became the first northeastern club to do so.
The following campaign he was roped in by East Bengal for a whopping 1.25 crores and moved to Mohun Bagan the season after that. At the start of the 2019-20 term, Jamil was appointed as the assistant coach of NorthEast United in the ISL. Following the sacking of head coach Robert Jarni, he took over as the interim manager at the club. Jamil still remains a hot prospect for any club looking to sign an Indian head coach with great attacking style.
2. Thangboi Singto
Singto began his coaching career at Shillong Lajong in the I-League in 2009. He was appointed as the interim head coach at the club in 2013. Singto stayed at the club until 2017 and was known for developing a lot of young talents and promoted several youngsters from the academy to the senior team. After leaving Shillong Lajong in 2017, he joined Indian Super League outfit Kerala Blasters as the assistant coach and technical director of their youth development program. He was announced as the temporary manager until the arrival of David James.
At the start of the 2019-20 season, Thangboi Singto moved to new ISL outfit Odisha FC and was appointed the assistant manager at the club under Spanish head coach Josep Gombau. Now, following the news of Gombau’s sacking, it remains to be seen if the club would opt for Singto to take charge as head coach given his history of promoting and managing young talents.
1. Derrick Pereira
Pereira has had a prolific playing career at club level and was also a part of the Indian national team from 1984 to 1991. He also featured at the 1984 AFC Asian Cup. He primarily played for Goan club Salgaocar SC and moved to Tata Football Academy for a year, only to return back to the Goan outfit and retire at the club in 1999.
Pereira began his managerial career by taking charge of Salgaocar U-19s and followed it up with multiple stints at different clubs in the country. He signed with FC Goa as Head of Youth Development and assistant manager in 2017. A year later he was promoted as the technical director of the club. In 2019. He was named head coach of the India U-23 team for the AFC U-23 Qualifiers. Given his experience, it remains to be seen if clubs would be out looking to rope him in as the first Indian head coach in the Indian Super League.