AIFF To Consider Indian Football Managers For National Team? 3 Potential Candidates Emerge | EXCLUSIVE

The Indian football team has achieved many good results under Indian coaches. Everyone knows about the movie Maidaan now and Syed Abdul Rahim and how the Indian national team got the nickname "Brazil of Asia" under him. They went on to win gold medals in the Asian Games and played in the semi-finals of the 1956 Summer Olympics. Other past notable Indian coaches for the national team include Balaidas Chatterjee, PK Banerjee, GMH Basha, and Arun Ghosh.
aiff is open to indian coaches

AIFF is open to appointing Indian coaches if Igor Stimac leaves. Mahesh Gawali (R) has the experience of working under Stimac. (AIFF)

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is on the verge of a significant shift in its approach, considering the appointment of an Indian coach for the national team. In an exclusive conversation with Sports Now, AIFF's Technical Committee chairperson IM Vijayan revealed that the Indian football's governing body is open to an Indian coach leading the Blue Tigers. If implemented, this change could spark a wave of excitement within the Indian football fraternity. For years, the Indian national team has been predominantly led by foreign coaches, with success being a rare occurrence. Only time will tell whether this potential shift in approach could be a game-changer.
Vijayan Names Potential Candidate
Vijayan has named a few prominent Indian coaches as potential candidates for the national team job. These include Mahesh Gawli, a key figure in the Indian senior men's team; Khalid Jamil, a seasoned coach with a wealth of experience in the I-League and Indian Super League (ISL); and Renedy Singh, a former national team player who has successfully transitioned into coaching at the youth level and has a proven track record of managing several clubs, including Bengaluru FC.
“Indian coaches are definitely a good option. They will bring fresh ideas, new direction, and we will think of about it. Let Igor Stimac come back to India after his break, and then we will speak to him,” said Vijayan.
“There are many of them, like Khalid Jamil, Renedy Singh and Mahesh Gawali. But they will need to apply first,” he added.
Who Are The 3 Contenders?
Mahesh Gawali: India's Assistant Coach. Gawali, 42, is one of the most respected names in Indian football. He has made an indelible mark on the sport as a player and a coach. His journey from a talented young footballer to one of India's finest defenders and finally an influential coach has been remarkable. He has also been the India U23 manager.
Renedy Singh: A former Indian captain and current assistant coach at Bengaluru FC, emerges as a strong candidate with the potential to usher in a new era for Indian football. Singh boasts a decorated playing career, having captained the Indian national team and played for prestigious clubs like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Beyond tactical knowledge, a successful head coach needs strong leadership and man-management skills. Renedy Singh's playing career instilled a sense of leadership within him.
Khalid Jamil: He boasts a trophy cabinet that speaks volumes about his coaching acumen. He is the mastermind behind Aizawl FC's historic I-League triumph, a remarkable feat for a relatively small club. He has also managed giants like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Jamil is known for his man-management skills, fostering a positive team environment where players can thrive. Jamil became the first Indian coach to reach the ISL playoffs when he helped NorthEast United storm into the 2020–21 Indian Super League playoffs.
The potential appointment of an Indian coach for the national team presents a unique set of advantages and challenges. While critics may argue that a lack of international experience could pose a question mark for Indian coaches, Minerva Academy owner Ranjit Bajaj pointed out that Indian coaches would bring a deeper understanding of the domestic playing style and the strengths and weaknesses of Indian players.
"It takes around two years for a foreign coach to get to know the players properly. Historically, India has achieved a lot of good results under Indian coaches. Everyone knows about the movie Maidaan now and Syed Abdul Rahim and how the Indian national team got the nickname "Brazil of Asia" under him. They went on to win gold medals in the Asian Games and played in the semi-finals of the 1956 Summer Olympics," Bajaj reminded.
Other past notable Indian coaches for the national team include Balaidas Chatterjee, who became the first head coach of the Indian national team and guided them at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.
AIFF Indian football team coach Balai Das Chatterjee
Indian football team coach Balai Das Chatterjee with Chuni Goswami.
Chatterjee's team boasted some of the biggest Indian legends, including skipper Talimeren Ao, Sailen Manna, and Sheoo Mewalal. This team earned plaudits after the tournament for playing barefoot.
Others like PK Banerjee, GMH Basha, and Arun Ghosh managed in the 1970s and 80s. Sukhwinder Singh and Syed Nayeemuddin took charge in the 2000s.
"In the current setup, someone like Mahesh Gawli has stepped up in Stimac's absence. He has gained a lot of experience, which can be pretty helpful. Also, how do you produce the next pipeline? So the U-13, U14, U-15 coaches, U-19, and U-23 coaches must be appropriately set up. Thereby, they can progress with the same batch of boys and stay with them longer. That is how you develop coaches," said Bajaj.
Bajaj also reminded of an interesting statistic: Domestic coaches worldwide have won World Cups with their national sides. So far, all 22 World Cup-winning coaches to date were homegrown.
End of Article
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