Pailan Arrows have been far from ideal – Arthur Papas’ imminent exit another low for the club

With Arthur Papas announcing that he won't be staying after this season is done, sheds light over the club's topsy-turvy times since its inception...

Expectations come naturally to every individual. It’s part of one’s intrinsic nature to desire. More often than not, they do not pan out as one anticipates. The gap between what one imagines and what turns out ends up in frustration.

To put the above into perspective, former India coach Bob Houghton and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel mooted the idea of Pailan Arrows, known as Indian Arrows back then, an ideal club which would be the reference point for the rest of the lot. The set of players at the club were to be the crux of India’s hopes of making it into the 2018 World Cup.

It doesn’t take rocket science to come to a conclusion that this has been far from achieved. The reasons (read: excuses) are numerous. But as Confucius famously said: “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”

Before embarking on such an important project, the homework wasn’t done in the first place. Players were roped in from various clubs on loan and it backfired later as the Indian FA failed in their attempts to convince the teams to do the same the year after.

This was one of the reasons attributed to the poor second season in top flight, where easily they were the worst of the lot with their ‘boring’ brand of football. No, we aren’t talking of their results as it doesn’t always matter in a youth setup but the manner in which the games were played.

Consistency breeds success and that has been the case with Dempo where a certain Armando Colaco has been at the helm of the Goan club and has brought immense success to the side.

At Pailan Arrows, the ‘ideal’ club, we have had a new coach in each season. Desmond Bulpin was shown the door for the long ball tactics, Sukhwinder Singh had a torrid time at the club and now Arthur Papas has announced his decision to not continue further.

Bulpin gone and now Papas to follow | Arrows have gotten it all wrong

How seriously was Papas’ statement taken was reflected in the poor response of the Pailan Group’s chairman Apurba Saha when he said, “I don’t know about it.”

Papas has had a positive effect on the youngsters at Pailan and that has been seen in their improved style of play. The players do like to keep the ball and are much more attacking than one has seen them in their short history.

As a coach, he looks in control of things and doesn’t shy away from voicing his opinion as seen when he stated that the drinks break in the second half of the game against Mohun Bagan was “stupid.” His views are often different from what one gets to hear and not that it is a forced attempt to stand out.

“I won’t be with Pailan next year. I have some offers here. I have some back home. It just depends on what I think is best for my career and the project. Because you have to have support from everyone, you need support from the sponsors, from the Federation to do the job properly. It’s not what you see on the ground, it is about what happens during the week,” said a disgruntled Papas.

Of course one doesn’t expect him to come out and list the details as to why he has decided to part ways, but the above statement clearly indicates that all is not well. It highlights the fact that not enough support is being provided by those concerned and that has eventually led to one of the bright coaches in the I-League to think of a move.

The AIFF need to put their thinking caps on and wonder what has gone wrong for them in the Pailan Arrows project. With inflation in salaries in the I-League, certainly Pailan Arrows would struggle to keep their players despite most of them being on a two-year contract. Reported delay in payments haven’t helped their cause either.

While Pailan Arrows haven’t been ideal in many sense, and mind you they don’t fulfill the club licensing criteria too, probably they would do well by following other ‘ideal’ clubs like Pune FC, who are often touted as the examples of one of the best run clubs by the who’s who of Indian football including technical director Rob Baan.

“When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points” - Confucius.

Hope the message is sent across.

Follow Rahul Bali on 

How do you stay up with football when on the move? With –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.