After the 0-0 draw against ATK, Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell stated that they are a new franchise in the Indian Super League (ISL) and are glad to be amongst the big boys.
This argument would make sense if there was a sense of continuity in every franchise of the ISL, something which Bengaluru FC can boast of or to an extent Mumbai City FC. The rest of the pack haven’t retained their coaching staff and could possibly retain only two or three of their players. So to claim that the other franchises have an edge over Jamshedpur makes no sense at all.
They had as much time as the other teams to pick their foreign and domestic signings. Interestingly, the club completed seven signings before the designated date to finalise foreign signings. Terms were also agreed with an eighth foreign player before the deal fell off due to complications.
The Jharkhand-based side started their pre-season training camp in Jamshedpur from the first week of October and embarked on a fortnight-long trip to Thailand thereafter.
Interestingly, during the pre-season camp in Thailand, Jamshedpur FC only had six foreign players. The seventh foreign player, namely Talla N’Diaye didn’t turn up.
Instead, Izu Azuka was drafted in at the eleventh hour and he only joined the team once they returned to India. The Nigerian striker and Kervens Belfort are the two designated number nines in the team. Azuka and Belfort have been devoid of service and hence, the goals have dried up. Azuka doesn’t look to be on the same wavelength as the rest of the team and the fault lies solely on the management for not planning well for the season.
Belfort too isn’t a prolific goal scorer per say and that explains why Jamshedpur FC are struggling upfront. One is the absence of an attacking midfielder and two is that neither Belfort nor Azuka have a great record in front of goal.
The signs were ominous when East Bengal downed Jamshedpur 3-1 in a preseason encounter last month.
Jamshedpur FC need to take the game to their opponents if they wish to break the deadlock. It’s been over 270 minutes of football and the club hasn’t yet found the back of the net.