Bosses at the helms: A look at top Indian coaches on top jobs – PART 1

We take a look at the Indian coaches of the Hero I-League and the ongoing Reliance Foundation Development League who are in the hot seat of their respective teams. In this part, let’s take a brief look at the Indian coaches in the Hero I-League.

The objective of coach education is to provide appropriate training for coaches who develop and nurture young talented players and to improve the quality of the league by improving the coaches involved.

The All India Football Federation emphasizes enhancing the skills of working coaches at all levels of the game, from youth to senior and from amateur to professional, and provides a high-quality coach education program.

To develop the beautiful game in India, there is a need to develop coaches who work from the bottom up. India has seen a huge spike in coach education in recent years and we are now seeing Indian coaches at the top in the I-League and ISL. The best example is Khalid Jamil.

Khalid is now the epitome of motivation for all aspiring coaches in India. The former Indian international was forced to stop pursuing his playing career due to injuries, but that didn’t stop him from staying close to the football pitch. The midfielder soon completed his coaching badges and is now one of 16 coaches in India to hold an AFC Pro license. In the past, he has managed Mumbai FC and on a low budget, kept the club relevant in India’s top division for six years. After his stint with Mumbai FC, he won the coveted Hero I-League trophy with Aizawl FC in 2017 and scripted history. He also managed two Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal before taking over the hero ISL outfit NorthEast United, where he led the club to the playoffs for the second time in its history.

The relegation phase of the Hero I-League is over and the championship phase has only 2 matchdays left before the conclusion of the league. Let’s take a look at the Indian bosses of the league.

Yan Law, Aizawl FC:

In 2019, former champions Minerva Punjab appointed Yan Law as their new head coach ahead of the 2019–20 Hero I-League season. When appointed, Yan was the youngest coach in the Indian top division to hold an “AFC A” license. In that season, Yan led Punjab FC and finished third in the league, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the league. The young coach then moved to Aizawl FC in 2021 and is there for 2 years now.

Shanmugam Venkatesh, Indian Arrows:

The former India international has been leading AIFF’s developmental side Indian Arrows in the Hero I-League since 2019. The former AIFF player of the year was also with the Indian national team as an assistant coach from 2015 to 2019.

Wangkhem Khogen Singh, NEROCA FC:

NEROCA FC appointed the former I-League winning coach in July 2021. Prior to the NEROCA job, Khogen won the Hero I-League in the 2017-18 season with Minerva Punjab FC.

Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Sudeva Delhi FC:

The former India international took charge of the club from the National Capital ahead of the 2021-22 Hero I-League season. The former right-back has worked his way up the coaching ladder. He was the head coach of the Pune City FC youth team. Under his guidance, they finished runner-up in Hero Elite League 2018. After his stint with Pune City, he was at Hyderabad FC as an assistant coach before joining Sudeva.

Leimapokpam Nandakumar Singh, TRAU FC:

Nandakumar began his managerial career as an assistant coach with Royal Wahingdoh. In 2014, he achieved promotion with the club as their manager. After Wahingdoh, he took charge of TRAU FC in 2017, and in 2019, he achieved promotion to the I-League.

Akhil Kothari, Kenkre FC:

Akhil is the youngest AFC A license holder in the country. Akhil started his professional coaching career at 23 when his playing career ended due to injury. Akhil became one of the youngest coaches to complete and receive an AFC ‘A’ Diploma in 2019 at the age of 23. Akhil started his coaching career at Kenkre FC as an assistant to Floyd Pinto. He then coached the Maharashtra State Under-14 boys team in 2016 and 2018. The team qualified for the final round of Sub Junior National. He has also been the head of grassroots development and youth team coach at Iron Born FC.

In Part-2, we will take a look at the Indian coaches who are leading the reserve squads of their respective ISL teams in the ongoing Reliance Football Development League. stay tuned.

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: Ambernath Utd – Atlanta FC edge Bombay Muslims; Millat, Century Rayon pick wins

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