Khel Now understands through a source that there is some tension brewing between the coaching staff and management at the Highlanders.

In a sudden shift of assignments at NorthEast United, the club management have decided to move assistant coach Khalid Jamil to look after their youth development operations, a source has told Khel Now.

“Coach Gerard Nus felt that there was some lack of tuning between Jamil and members of the coaching staff. Moreover, there were several instances in which the two parties witnessed differences in opinion leading to him being moved out of the first-team setup. The assistant coach is, therefore, likely to exit the bio-bubble in Goa and return to the club’s base in Guwahati,” a source close to the developments quoted.

Khel Now also understands that Khalid Jamil will continue to serve till the duration of his contract which is slated to end in March 2021, but the club won’t extend his contract any further. The former I-League-winning coach has been with the Highlanders since the past two seasons and also took up the role of interim head coach after Robert Jarni was sacked towards the end of the the 2019-20 season.

NorthEast United released an official statement regarding the moving of Khalid Jamil to the youth setup

The club released a statement on the situation which read:

“The club’s focus is to build a structure that will scout, nurture and groom talent from the region that can feed into the first team. The club has already recruited some top coaches and scouts and is laying out the foundations for a comprehensive academy. With this as a core focus, Khalid Jamil will be leading this effort.”

However, the source stated that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be any significant progress with regards to their youth development plans. This naturally raises questions on the Jamil’s involvement in the project.

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“Khalid has been an instrumental part of selecting the Indian talent for this season’s first team squad and the club wants him to continue to identify and mentor youth footballers back home. Given his familiarity with the region, he will be responsible for strengthening the existing coaching setup as well as improving our independent scouting network in the Northeast.”

The decision of the management to lay out the foundations for an academy is quite peculiar, considering the season began not more than a week ago. Moreover, with Khalid Jamil being one of the more experienced domestic coaches in the country, it makes the decision to involve him solely in youth development operations all the more strange.

“Our core belief has always been to provide the talent from the region a platform to showcase their skills and we look forward to unearthing many more stars,” the statement further read.

The move comes rather as a shocker especially after NorthEast United bagged a jubilant win against might Mumbai City FC in their Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 season opener. Kwesi Appiah’s strike from the spot was enough to hand the Highlanders the narrow victory. The team is currently preparing for the clash against Kerala Blasters on Thursday.

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