Scott O’Donnell is going to step in as interim coach of the India under-17 FIFA World Cup squad that has revolted against German chief coach Nicolai Adam.
Adam’s future as India’s World Cup coach was cut short by the All India Football Federation bosses on Tuesday night after the U-17 squad levelled child abuse charges against the star German age-group coach, who was hired by India in February 2015.
Considering the seriousness of the complaint signed by the entire 21-member squad, the AIFF promptly slapped a showcause notice on Adam, asking him to explain why he should not be sacked.
Bhutia, Renedy fail
Former India captain and Asian Football Confederation’s Hall of Famer Bhaichung Bhutia’s effort to play peacemaker by talking to the players bore little fruit on Thursday.
Top AIFF officials told HT that Bhutia and his former India teammate Renedy Singh failed to pacify the teenaged footballers who are camping in Delhi en route to Goa where the national camp is scheduled to resume on February 1.
“Bhutia drew a blank. The kids have made it clear they will not train with Nicolai Adam and the AIFF will not force anything on the footballers,” said an official. Bhutia didn’t want to comment on the issue.
Earlier, Bhutia had told HT that Adam was a hard taskmaster but meant good for the boys and the team.
“Adam has himself selected 70 per cent of the boys. How can he harm them?” said Bhutia, who himself flew down to Delhi on Republic Day to meet the disgruntled unit.
Adam and his assistant coach have been charged of manhandling players and even making racial comments.
Adam’s loss could be O’Donnell’s gain.
If the AIFF fails to find a coach to replace Adam, O’Donnell, an ex-Aussie footballer and coaching instructor, could strike another jackpot in Indian football.
O’Donnell is currently serving his notice period as technical director of AIFF.
The federation is shortly going to advertise for a coach.
Sources reveal that Adam is trying to strike a financial ‘deal’ so that he can make an honourable exit. The ministry of sports has already spent around R8 crore on the U-17 squad.