The All India Football Federation (AIFF) got approval from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to shorten the two-year wait between coaching badges for an employee but rejected a similar application from a former India player. The employee fell short by eight months, the former international by seven.
The employee with the AIFF academies’ department completed his AFC ‘C’ licence in October 2013. While on AIFF payroll this person claimed to have coached a Delhi school to fulfill AFC’s requirement of active coaching to be eligible for a ‘B’ licence. Eight months short of two years, the person was allowed to join a ‘B’ licence course in March 2015 in Kolkata. It was conducted by AIFF technical director Scott O’Donnell, who also heads the federation’s academies’ department.
But when Alex Ambrose, who had finished his ‘C’ licence in November 2013, applied through his club Mumbai FC to join the ‘B’ licence course in Mumbai last May, O’ Donnell turned it down saying he did not fulfill AFC criteria.
Ambrose played for India for six years and for clubs such as Salgaocar, Dempo and Mumbai FC. He was also on the coaching staff of Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Mumbai City FC last term.
Atul Badgamia, Mumbai FC deputy vice-president, wrote to O’Donnell on April 20 requesting Ambrose’s inclusion in the programme in Mumbai because he is Mumbai FC’s under-17 team coach.
Ambrose is a “very important component of Mumbai FC’s longterm youth development plans”, wrote Badgamia. “He is critical to our development plans and hence we request your help him (sic) in requesting AFC to fast track his candidature so that he can appear for his AFC ‘B’ certificate.” HT has a copy of the letter.
On the same day, the AIFF technical director replied: “Unfortunately we cannot consider Alex for the AFC ‘B’ Certificate Course in May as he needs to have been actively coaching for a period of two years as per AFC criteria before he can be considered for the AFC ‘B’ Certificate….As he completed his AFC ‘C’ Certificate in November 2013, he does not fulfill AFC criteria. If it was a matter of only a month or two we could have appealed to AFC but not seven months.” HT has a copy of the reply.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said the employee’s application was fast-tracked because the person is assisting India’s under-17 team. “We went ahead only after getting an okay from the AFC,” he said, over the phone from Delhi on Monday. Asked why it wasn’t done for Ambrose, Das said he would look into the matter. It is possible that another ‘B’ licence course would be conducted in India later this year but should it clash with the ISL, it would leave Ambrose with a difficult choice to make.