The former India international who won the I-League title with Aizawl this season will move to the Kolkata giants for the next campaign…

Aizawl FC’s championship-winning manager Khalid Jamil is set to be announced as the new head coach of Kolkata giants East Bengal for the next season.

The Red and Gold Brigade have been without a coach after the departure of Trevor Morgan, having had assistant coach Ranjan Bhattacharya as their manager for the last few weeks of the I-League and the Federation Cup. The club was rumoured to be in talks with former Bengaluru manager Ashley Westwood and Armando Colaco but have decided to rope in the former Mumbai FC manager following his title-winning exploits.

Sources told Khel Now that East Bengal’s senior official Debabrata Sarkar travelled to Mumbai yesterday with former footballer Alvito D’Cunha and held final talks to convince Jamil to become the Red and Gold manager next season. This is an intriguing moment for Sarkar, who had travelled all the way to Mumbai back in 2001 to try to sign Jamil(who was then playing for Air India) and even offered him a 150% hike in his salary, but the midfielder declined the offer.

As other reports suggest, Mohun Bagan, the arch rivals of East Bengal were also interested in the Kuwait-born coach and offered him the position of head coach of the club which apparently he declined in order to sign for East Bengal for the upcoming season.

With uncertainty around his future at Aizawl, Jamil seems to have been tempted by Bengal’s offer and will look to win The Red and Gold Brigade their much wanted first I-League title which has been evading them for years now. But with his amazing work at Aizawl, this could be a decisive appointment for East Bengal who definitely means business this time around.

The Kolkata giants have already roped in several Aizawl FC players, such as Mahmoud Al-Amna, Brandon Vanlalremdika and Lalramchullova. The Red and Gold Brigade is also said to be interested in signing other Aizawl FC stars such as Ashutosh Mehta, Jayesh Rane and Albino Gomes to further strengthening the squad. 

The Former Mumbai FC Coach spoke to Times of India about his move and said: “Things should be final by early next week,” Jamil told TOI. “I must admit I am very interested in taking up the challenge. I need to have a final word with my present club, Aizawl before finally committing anything,”

“They met me at the awards ceremony last night and voiced their interest. Debarata Sarkar, senior East Bengal official, met with me again today to discuss the deal,” Jamil added, “Like with every negotiation, there are a few things that need to be ironed out.”

Jamil’s love for Aizawl is in tact, but failures to keep key players and the lack of ambitions of the management is what tipped him to leave, as he explained: “My first interest remains Aizawl, after all I am still their coach. But they haven’t said anything concrete, even during the break (between the I-League and Federation Cup) and over the past month.

“It’s my job to keep the players during the season, by telling them not to leave and give them opportunity to play. Once the season gets over, it becomes the management’s responsibility to retain the players. They haven’t done it. I’ve lost a lot of my players,”

He further spoke about his aspirations at East Bengal and it being a dream job, explaining: “Every footballer wants to play in Kolkata at least once in their career. It is no different for me; if it wasn’t as a player, then as a coach now.”

With already a set of players brought in from Aizawl FC for the necessary fresh blood needed in, it is easier to say that Khalid has already secured the nucleus of the team. However, with other teams also strengthening their squads, it is just a matter of time to reach a conclusion of if the coveted coach will be able to deliver East Bengal the prestigious I-League trophy next year.