Goal Special: Looking back at how the FPAI Best Coach nominees fared throughout the season

As the Football Players' Association of India (FPAI) awards ceremony is all set to take place on 23rd May, Goal discusses why these 5 coaches deserved to be nominated...

Another season of the I-League is done and dusted with, and Churchill Brothers managed to clinch the title in the penultimate round this season. The Goans won their second I-League football title by playing out a 1-1 draw against Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan.

The season has gifted us some memories which will be cherished long. There were a number of tactical masterpieces seen as the managers played all their cards.

The Football Players Association of India's (FPAI) Indian Football awards will bring the curtain down to this long season of football and five coaches have been shortlisted for the coach of the year award. Here's a look at what earned them the nominations.

The names have been placed alphabetically.

 Arthur Papas| Pailan Arrows

Arthur Papas became one of the talking points among the Indian football fraternity as he transformed a beleaguered Pailan Arrows into a formidable side. Made up only of talented young Indian players, the team surprised everyone with their style of play, even though they were devoid of any foreign help on the field. Papas also had a very successful stint with the India U-22 team. Unlike the former coaches of the Developmental side of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Papas tried to introduce a style of his own, which obviously had its positives as the young guns stayed in the top 3 of the league table after the first six rounds of the league. However, lack of a prolific goalscorer took its toll on the team and they finished in the bottom half of the table. It must be noted that the Australian certainly took great care of the youngsters like Alwyn Geoge, Hiolicharan Narzary and Milan Singh, who are now on the radar of several top I-League clubs.

 Derrick Pereira| Pune FC

Pune FC has been one of the best managed clubs in the country and it is of no surprise that Derrick Pereira, the gaffer of the 6-year old club made it into the final five of the FPAI coach of the year Awards, 2013. Pune FC pulled off the best performance in its history as it finished second in the just concluded edition of the I-League. The team did not have much star power to bank on, but it was the efficiency of Derrick's coaching that brought out the best results of the squad. The likes of Anas Edathodika, Gurjinder Kumar have all sprung to fame under his guidance, while Khanthang Paite got a new life in his loan-spell at the club.

Pune FC dropped very few points against the weaker opponents this season and this tells us about the kind of mentality that Derrick has been able to inculcate in the team. As the coach returns back to his old stomping ground in Salgaocar nothing can beat the award as a farewell gift.

  Santosh Kashyap | ONGC

Santosh Kashyap had a forgettable start of the season after he attracted a lot of media attention and took the hot seat of the star-studded Mohun Bagan side. The tryst with the Mariners was short-lived as the Green and Maroon brigade crashed out of the Federation Cup in the group stages, much to the agony of the Mohun Bagan faithful. After a not so good start in the  I-League, the officials didn't think twice to hand him the pink slip.

Luck took its turn for the good a few weeks later, when Kashyap was handed over the responsibilty of coaching the relegation threatened ONGC. This time he was able to show his full potential as he used his weapons well to extract the best of his low-budget team. ONGC, who were once stuggling in the bottom three of the table, had a dream journey to finish 9th, notching up 7 victories in the process and their style of play too improved tremendously after Kashyap took over the reign. 

 Subhash Bhowmick | Churchill Brothers

Bhowmick has been one of the most successful coaches of Indian origin, having the unique distinction of winning an international tournament namely the ASEAN Cup with East Bengal in 2003. After having forgettable stints with Salgaocar, Mohammedan Sporting, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, he made his return with a bang as he led Churchill Brothers to an I-League triumph this season. In spite of losing Bilal Najjarin and Akram Moghrabi midway through the season, the team did not lose their focus and continued on the path of success. 

The veteran from Kolkata. who is now the only coach to win two National Legue titles with two different clubs, brought in quality players as replacements. The signing of Indian National football team captain Sunil Chhetri was his masterstroke in the business end of the season. The only low point in Bhowmick's season will be the lacklustre performance by Churchill Brothers in the AFC Cup, where they crashed out from the group stages.

 Trevor James Morgan | East Bengal

The British manager once again showed glimpses of his tactical acumen as East Bengal finished yet another successful season under his helm. The year started off well with the Red and Golds winning the Federation Cup. They started the I-League too fairly well as they managed to keep nine clean sheets in their first ten matches, conceding a single goal and were on the top of the league table. However, the joy was short-lived as the side satrted to drop points at regular intervals and finished third in the competetion, which is also the worst in Morgan's three year tenure. The team also reached the finals of the IFA Shield by beating arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in a nail-biting encounter. However, they were unable to grab the laurels as a solitary Ranti Martins goal helped Prayag United go past the Kolkata giants. With two matches remaining, the team is also in line to win the Kolkata league.

The highlight of Morgan's season, however was the team's performance in the AFC Cup where East Bengal are still unbeaten and have managed to book their places in the Quarter Finals.

Who have been the best coaches in the I-League this season in your view? Let us know by commenting below...

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