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ISL: Will the ISL 2021-22 season be the real test for NorthEast United FC coach Khalid Jamil?

Khalid Jamil is the only Indian head coach in the ISL and a lot will depend upon him. Will this upcoming season be the real test for Jamil?

ISL: Will the ISL 2021-22 season be the real test for NorthEast United FC coach Khalid Jamil?

Sattyik Sarkar

Published: 22 Oct 2021 3:25 PM GMT

The eighth edition of the Indian Super League will be the real test for Khalid Jamil. Though NorthEast United FC haven't announced Jamil as their head coach ahead of the season, still it is quite clear from the proceedings that Jamil will be guiding the team in this edition of the Indian Super League.

Th 44-year-old has been associated with the NorthEast United FC think-tank for quite some time now. Previously he used to be the assistant coach to the various foreign head coaches but ever since the club parted ways with Gerard Nus last season, Jamil has been given the responsibility to guide the NorthEast United FC side.

His performance as a coach was astonishing as his team remained undefeated in eleven consecutive matches until their loss in the second leg of the playoff against ATK Mohun Bagan. The team, in the process, went on to defeat high profile clubs like ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC in the way. The most shocking part was the brand of football which the team played. Any individual who has been watching Khalid Jamil since his debut as a coach in 2009 will understand the difference between the then Jamil and the current one. Jamil was always considered to be coach with a defensive mindset but NorthEast United FC's approach under his guidance has propelled people to think differently.

Khalid Jamil. (Courtesy: NorthEast United FC Media)

A lot depends on Khalid Jamil's performance as a coach this season. Never before in the Indian Super League has an Indian coach been relied on for the managerial function. If Jamil succeeds in this, then maybe in the near future we may see clubs appointing Indian coaches rather than spending sums on foreign coaches. At the end of the day, his success is important for Indian football. If he manages to be successful, then he will act as a torchbearer and an inspiration to numerous new and young football enthusiasts in India who dream of being a coach.

As it is that the national team has been managed mostly by foreign coaches in the last two decades, Jamil's introduction and success as a head coach in the Indian Super League will be a sign that Indian football is developing. And it is firmly believed that Khalid Jamil will give his best this time out. He is well aware of the NorthEast United FC setup and in accordance to their transfer market activity this season, it can be said that the Highlanders will be targeting something more than the previous season.

Khalid Jamil has previously been the head coach in various I-League clubs like Mumbai FC (2009-15), Aizawl FC (2016/17, led them to the I-League title in that very season), East Bengal (2017/18) and Mohun Bagan (2019).

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