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ISL: Khalid Jamil - Mohun Bagan & East Bengal experiences have made me stronger

06:59 WAT 20/06/2019
Khalid Jamil NorthEast United ISL
The former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan coach takes up his maiden role in the Indian Super League with the Guwahati-based side...

NorthEast United embark on yet another new journey in the Indian Super League (ISL), this time with Khalid Jamil entering the ranks as assistant coach.

As Goal had earlier reported, the Highlanders announced the signing of Jamil on Wednesday on a three-year contract in the capacity of assistant coach. His role will also extend as Head of Academy for the Guwahati-based side.

Jamil was grateful to the management of NorthEast United, providing him an opportunity to work in the ISL for the very first time in his coaching career.

"I had got offers (from the ISL) previously but I did not take them up. I was waiting for the right time and all the previous offers did not seem that serious to me," Jamil told Goal .

As for what attracted him to NorthEast United, the former India international narrated, "But this time after talking to the owners, John (Abraham) Sir, Jaya Balan Sir and Priya (Runchal) Madam, I saw this as an honest and serious proposition. I went over talk to them and in the first meeting itself, I agreed on a deal."

Jamil's last gig was with Mohun Bagan, whom he joined midway through the 2018-19 season. The 42-year-old was in search for avenues ever since the completion of the I-League season and the opportunity with NorthEast United could not have come at a better time for Jamil.

"I was desperate for a job. I think this is right time to join ISL and this is the right offer. Now that they have given me the job, it is my turn to add value. I am lucky and I am grateful that they have given me a chance. I will remember this forever."

Talking about his new responsibilities, Jamil said, "I am impressed with the attitude John Sir has. The academy includes the youth teams, the reserve team and also I have the role of being the assistant coach to the senior side."

When Khalid Jamil was the youth coach of Mumbai FC, they won the youth league in Mumbai several times and the likes of Ashutosh Mehta and Jayesh Rane emerged from that team.

"I've always liked working with young kids and that was one of my primary wishes when I started coaching. The North-East region has great talent. So, there should not be any difficulties. But we have to work hard."

An AFC 'Pro' License holder, Jamil started his coaching career ten seasons ago with Mumbai FC after his premature retirement as a player. After seven seasons with the club, he found success with Aizawl FC, winning the I-League in 2016-17. After that, he went on to manage both the Kolkata giants - East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

However, Jamil remains unfazed by the idea he will have to play second fiddle after years of being the boss from the touchline.

"I am fully mentally prepared. The main thing I demand is respect and I got that respect here. I am ready to do all the things good for the club. In football, no one is bigger or smaller. One must just go about your work sincerely. I walk into this job hoping that I will get a very good experience from here. Whatever experience I have, I will share and do a good job definitely."

A former India international, Jamil was happy that he would return to the region after his fruitful time with Aizawl. "The people and the players of northeast India are hardworking. Whatever you tell them, they will listen to you a hundred per cent. They are always diligent, they have the will to progress and they have fun in training. This only makes the coach's job easier - you instruct and they will follow," he opined.

Jamil has had a tumultuous two seasons in Kolkata, first with East Bengal where he agonisingly came close to winning the I-League title before a fallout with then Technical Director Subhas Bhowmick saw him exit the club unceremoniously. He then took over Mohun Bagan midway through the 2018-19 season after Sankarlal Chakraborty‎ resigned after a poor start.

However, Jamil maintained a positive outlook on things. "We became the champions at Aizawl. Then at East Bengal, we lost only three matches, reach the final of the Super Cup and won the Calcutta Football League. I had ups and downs there. Then, going to Mohun Bagan midseason, we had good players and I tried hard."

"All these were learning processes, which made me stronger and I gained a lot of experience. I have no complaints. Yes, there was media pressure, there was fan pressure, but all these are always there. Now, let us see what's in store for me in the ISL," Jamil concluded.