The 27-year old Australian takes over from interim manager Bhaichung Bhutia to become the youngest ever manager in the I-League.United Sikkim fans will have reason to be optimistic as their club now has a permanent manager. Australian Nathan Hall's name was doing the rounds for a few weeks about possibly being named manager of the North-Eastern club. It was finally confirmed by United Sikkim senior manager Arjun Rai who presented the 27-year old with the club jersey. Hall, whose contract runs till April 2013, now holds the distinction of being the youngest ever coach to take charge of a club in the I-League.
The Australian who has had coaching stints in Thailand, Indonesia and Australia before his current assignment was ecstatic over his appointment. "It is a new and exciting challenge for me to help United Sikkim stay in the I-League. United Sikkim have been waiting to play in I-League for a long time and the target is to make sure that we stay in the League for the next season as well," said Hall to The Times of India.
The Sikkimese club currently lie in 12th in the 14-team I-League with 8 points from 10 games played. Bhaichung Bhutia has been in a player-manager role on an interim basis ever since the club management showed Belgian coach Phillipe de Ridder the door after their humiliating 10-1 loss to Prayag United SC.
|Nathan Hall takes over from Bhaichung Bhutia(left) as United Sikkim manager|
Club senior manager Arjun Rai was delighted with the appointment. "The team had been giving poor performances under the previous coach (De Ridder) and club CEO Bhaichung Bhutia was the interim coach for five matches. The club did well under him but since he is also a player and has other responsibilities, we needed a full-time coach and we are happy to have Nathan on the board," said Rai.
Hall's first assignment would be a daunting away trip to Pune to face Mumbai FC which will be the first of three consecutive away games for the Sikkimese club. The 27-year old is well aware of the enormity of the task at hand. This being United Sikkim's debut in the top flight will pile on the pressure on Hall to ensure that the club remains to see another season in the I-League.
"The season so far has not been particularly good for United Sikkim, but we still have a long way to go. I don't know much about Indian clubs, but I do know that we are a small club with not much experience in I-League," pointed out Hall. "We have potential in our squad and my first job is to get our players to train hard and improve so that they can be very competitive," added the Australian.
Hall had his first training session with the team on Sunday and opined that it would take some time for him to know each player. Having taking over a coaching role at an age where footballers are usually in their primes, Hall stressed that for him only performance and nothing else mattered.
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