The former Mariners coach explains that he is an ardent admirer of his new club's professionalism, hopes to establish an I-League winning team...
Karim Bencharifa has stated that he hopes to put the experience he has gained from an ill-fated second reign at Mohun Bagan, to ensure that Pune FC are the ones who gain the most through his mentoring.
Speaking to Goal, Bencherifa was asked to shed light on his stint at Mohun Bagan, which saw the Kolkata stalwarts finish a lowly eighth last season. “It was challenging and difficult but it was another learning experience which will be useful for my coaching carrier.
"There were ups and downs, but I was hoping to do much better. For different reasons, it didn't happen. One of my biggest satisfactions is the discovery of some exciting new talents, which is almost impossible to do with the big Kolkata clubs due to the pressure on players and coaches.”
Pressurized to describe the intricacies that led to his team’s poor form, Bencherifa chose to be non-committal.
“Without going through the details when a team doesn't do well, the coach must take responsibility for that. So one of the reasons is myself but there other reasons which I don't want to elaborate and anyway I am a person who looks forward rather than complaining about the past. Overall there were many good moments and I will remember only this.”
Having plied his trade in Goa and Kolkata only, Benncherifa's next job is in a city which isn't traditionally known to be a football hob.
“I have no problem with that though I do feel that Pune have many people who know and follow the game. It is up to us to bring them to the stadium and get them interested more in the team, the key is our performances. We, including the players and the staff, have to create a dynamic around the club; play well, win games, be consistent and that's the key,” elucidated Bencherifa, who acknowledged the task at hand.
Questioned on his target with the Red Lizards, he expressed hopefulness by stating that he would want to win a trophy with the club who haven't yet laid their hands on silverware.
“I wish to help the club get the first silverware. Though Pune FC hasn’t won any trophy yet I think they did a lot for Indian football and the I-League. They brought a lot of professionalism and fresh ideas on how to run a club.
"They are a model in youth development and this will definitely work for the benefit of the club in the near future. So I am very hopeful about the outcome of the next season or two.”
“Well despite that, I think over the years Pune FC always managed to build quite a strong, competitive team and we will try to do the same this year. The base and core of the team is there already, with some quality youngsters pushing their way to the first team."
Pune FC are known not to splurge in the transfer market unlike some of the biggest Kolkata clubs. Bencherifa isn't concerned as he believes a pragmatic approach to finance is always a good option.
"There is nothing wrong when a club spends wisely and that’s what usually happens here,” replied Bencherifa.
Finally the Moroccan aired his views on a long standing belief, that Pune FC were the most professional team in the country.
“As I’ve said before, Pune FC leads the way when it comes to professionalism, from the way they handle and take care of the first team, the organisation of the I-League matches, the setup of the youth development etc.
"I am sure there will be much more to come. That’s one of the reasons I am excited to be associated with this club,” concluded Bencherifa, who no doubt wishes to weave an I-League winning campaign at his latest club.