ISL 2019 | Khalid Jamil front-runner for NorthEast United FC assistant coach role
Retired Indian footballer Khalid Jamil has emerged as a top candidate for the position of assistant coach for ISL outfit NorthEast United FC as a replacement for Australian Shaun Ontong. Jamil has previously won the I-League in a historic season with another north-eastern side, Aizawl FC.
NorthEast United are witnessing a constant flow of players and coaches leaving the club. It all started with both coach Eelco Schattorie and assistant coach Shaun Ontong leaving for Indian Super League competitors Kerala Blasters. The pair was soon followed by the club's all-time record goalscorer Bartholomew Ogbeche and record cap-holder Rehenesh TP leaving the club, both of whom also joined the Yellow Brigade.
If this was not enough, India international Rowllin Borges and defender Mato Grgic also left the north-east side for Mumbai City for the upcoming 2019-2020 season. However, the club finally has some good news, with Jamil being a real possibility for the second from top spot in the club’s coaching structure, as reported by Goal.
The Kuwaiti-born winger never quite fulfilled his potential as a player, being plagued by injuries throughout his career which meant he could only rack up 4 international caps for India and was forced to retire early at Mumbai City in 2009 after not having played for two years. However, he did not waste time before plunging into management and it has paid many dividends for him.
He started off with Mumbai City itself and took them from a relegation-threatened club with limited resources to their best ever 6th spot finish within three seasons before he moved on to take charge of Aizawl FC who had just been relegated. However, with the club known for playing an attractive and attacking style of football, a stroke of luck saw them stay in the top tier and in a historic season, he took the club to an unbelievable title victory, becoming the first ever north-east club to do so.
Since then, he has managed East Bengal who made him the most expensive coach ever in Indian top tier history ina 1.25 cr deal. Most recently, he was at the helm of local rivals Mohun Bagan in a brief stint in the later part of the 2018-19 season.
The AFC 'Pro' License holder will become only the third Indian after Thangboi Singto and Santosh Kashyap to become NUFC’s assistant coach if he does secure the role. The club had finished seventh in ISL last season and had been eliminated from the Super Cup early on by Chennai CIty FC.