I-League: East Bengal unveil Khalid Jamil as chief coach
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I-League: East Bengal unveil Khalid Jamil as chief coach

Khalid Jamil, who won the I-League with Aizawl FC, will be at the helm of East Bengal next season.

football Updated: Jun 21, 2017 22:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Press Trust of India, Kolkata
East Bengal,Khalid Jamil,East Bengal coach
Khalid Jamil was unveiled as East Bengal’s head coach for the next season.(HT Photo)

East Bengal unveiled Khalid Jamil as their coach for this season and if the taciturn I-League winner was overwhelmed by the media swell on Wednesday, he hid it well.

‘Khalid, jaar uncha bol na (Khalid, could you speak a little louder?)’ was how he was initiated into the presentation on sweltering evening made worse by the defective air-conditioner which nearly transformed the packed club’s media room into a sauna.

The former India midfielder smiled and spoke a little louder but his answers still were often drowned in the crossfire of questions. Surely this is something the man who helmed Mumbai FC for seven seasons before scripting Aizawl FC’s dream run to the I-League title last term isn’t used to.

For Jamil, this is a new challenge; one which he said was a natural progression to the next level of his coaching career. “I wanted to stay at Aizawl but was convinced by what the officials at East Bengal offered. I also joined because the colours red and gold are my favourite,” he said.

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When conversation veered to the pressure of coaching a top club in Kolkata, Jamil deadpanned that it wasn’t as if there was no stress in his earlier assignments. “If I enjoy what I’m doing, I feel no pressure,” he said.

There was a time when Mohun Bagan and East Bengal assiduously pursued this central midfielder but Jamil never kitted for either as a player. “Whatever happens, happens for the best. I have no regrets that I couldn’t play in Kolkata,” said the man who has been given a one-year contract said to be worth around Rs 65 lakh.

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Jamil, 40, said he would start training from the second week of July. Between now and then, he will have to firm up his support staff. With East Bengal having already signed Lalramchullova, Mahmoud Al-Amna and Brandon Vanlalremdika from Aizawl FC, Jamil will have some known faces when he starts work. Jamil said the club is taking to Ashutosh Mehta and Jayesh Rane who played for Aizawl FC last season. East Bengal also have Arnab Mondal, Mohammed Rafique, Gurwinder Singh among six players on contract for 2017-18.

Will all this translate into the elusive I-League title? “I am not thinking beyond my first match (possibly in the Kolkata league),” said Jamil.

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 19:09 IST