Year-end Special: Top 4 coaches in Indian football

Goal lists down the top four coaches whose tactics earned highest dividends in the calendar year 2013.

GOALBY   SARTHAK DUBEY     Follow @SarthakDubey27 on twitter

The year 2013 has brought in some fresh faces in the managerial front of Indian football. All though Indian coaches are slowly making a name for themselves, the foreigners continue to dominate Goal’s list of top 4 managers of 2013 based completely on performance and results:

Oscar Bruzon (Sporting Clube de Goa)

Oscar Bruzon took over the reins at Sporting Clube de Goa in December 2012 and it’s fair to say that the Spanish coach has had a significant impact on the Goan team’s performances over the calendar year. The Flaming Oranje were in a woeful state having lost 5 out of their 6 matches in the November-December phase of I-League 2012-13 season. Although Oscar Bruzon’s first three games saw him taste a victory, a draw and a loss (an 8-4 thriller against subsequent champions Churchill), the process of steadying Sporting’s tipsy turvy ship began with the dawn of 2013.

Oscar Bruzon has had a massive impact at Sporting

The Spanish coach guided his team out of the relegation zone with an eye-catching 7 match unbeaten run including 5 straight wins and only 2 goals conceded. The Flaming Oranje finished the season in a solid sixth position also having clinched the Goa Super Cup Final in May. Bruzon’s first full season in-charge of the I-League club has begun in no less spectacular fashion with Sporting Clube de Goa currently occupying second position (with a game in hand). The former Segunda División player from Spain also guided his team to the Goa Super League title. Players like Dawson Fernandes and Victorino Fernandes have blossomed under the head coach; both have made their debuts for the Indian national team.

The 36-year old is now entering 2014 with a 4-match winning streak and the Flaming Oranje will hope to reach greater heights under him this season.

Ashley Westwood (Bengaluru FC)

Ashley Westwood might be a late entrant to the Indian Football scene in 2013 but is already turning heads with his no-nonsense approach to training and table-topping results. In any press conference or interview, the Englishman never lays emphasis on his team’s position in the table. “Standards will be set high – personal and professional. If those are high, the league table will take care of itself.” And boy, is the table taking care! Westwood’s Blue Army find themselves top of the I-League table with 9 wins out of 15 and a 7-match unbeaten streak at home which recently ended at the hands of East Bengal. While players like John Johnson, Curtis Osano and Pawan Kumar have gone on to become local heroes under Westwood, players like Sean Rooney have certainly had their careers instantly resurrected by the 37-year old. Sunil Chhetri seems to be enjoying the best phase in his club career and even won the AIFF’s Player of the Year award.

Ashley Westwood has inculcated a sense of discipline in the team

The former Northampton defender is thoroughly enjoying his job in Bangalore. "You might go into a Championship club and try to improve a player by five per cent. You come over to India and you can vastly improve a player" – he recently told Sky Sports. Stability might be the aim for Bengaluru FC, but with such a professional setup in place, the league title shouldn’t be too far away. The former Manchester United youth graduate was assistant to Michael Appleton at Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and Portsmouth and has brought in a wealth of experience to the South Indian outfit.

Ashley Westwood is a deserving candidate on our list as very few managers have achieved what he has achieved with a rookie team in the I-League, in such a short space of time.

Trevor James Morgan (East Bengal)

If there is one coach who took India’s name to the continental stage, it is Trevor Morgan. The Englishman took his Red and Gold Brigade to the 2013 AFC Cup Quarter-finals, but quit his job at the end of the I-League season due to personal reasons. East Bengal were placed in a tough looking group ‘H’ alongside Malaysian outfit Selangor, Vietnamese Sài Gòn Xuân Thành and Singapore Champions Tampines Rovers. Under Morgan’s mentorship, the team emerged unbeaten from the group with 14 points and also managed to thrash Yangon United from Myanmar in the round of 16 to progress to the last 8.

Morgan got third time lucky in the AFC Cup

Brazilian coach Marcos Falopa took over from Morgan at the Kolkata club but never managed to coordinate with fans, management or players. “I respect his achievements but the target has been from day one to do better than that. Of course we have taken certain aspects from Morgan’s style but each coach has his own ways and we have looked for the right balance,” he said. Unfortunately, Falopa parted company with East Bengal and in came the legendary Armando Colaco.

Derrick Pereira (Pune FC & Salgaocar)

The Goan coach guided the club to a second place finish and deservedly won the best coach award at the Football Players Association of India's (FPAI) Indian Football awards. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) too recognised his efforts and honoured him with the coach of the year award. His tactical nous and understanding of the game is second to none.

The Pro license holder has impressed with two different clubs

This season with Salgaocar, the club had a fantastic start to their season as they topped the standings. However a dip in form and injuries to key players didn't help their cause. However the club has made massive improvement under Derrick already and with a couple of signings expected in January, expect Salgaocar to blossom this year.

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