NorthEast United have followed in the footsteps of Kerala Blasters to become the second Indian Super League (ISL) club to have sacked their coach midway into the season.
The John Abraham co-owned club are the only ISL team alongside FC Pune City to have not qualified for the play-offs in the last three years. The club appointed Joao de Deus Pires in July last year in the hopes of overturning their fortunes this time around.
However, NorthEast United have scored just twice in seven games despite the coach having claimed that the top scorer in the ISL will be from his club. With only a win in their bag, the north-eastern outfit once again looks set to miss out on the top four unless they improve their form drastically.
After the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mumbai City FC, the club management held meetings with certain players who expressed their displeasure over de Deus’ methods. The 5-0 hammering in Pune last week was the final straw for the club as they decided to part ways with the coach. Interestingly, Halicharan Narzary and Nirmal Chettri were left out of the 18 when they visited Pune.
The 40-year-old de Deus is a former national team manager of the West African nation, Cape Verde between 2008-2010. Post that, he joined Spanish second division side AD Ceuta and was given the boot soon after.
He then went on to extensively manage clubs in Portugal's second tier. In 2014, the managerial job of Sporting Clube de Portugal 'B' was offered to him and de Deus then went on to spend three seasons in Cristiano Ronaldo's boyhood club's reserve team.
Joining the Sportinguistas midway in the 2014-15 season, de Deus took the team to a fifth place finish in his maiden year. The following year, they only managed the tenth spot before parting ways with the club in February 2017 after the club was in danger of being relegated.
A month later, De Deus got his first taste of Portugal's top division, the Primeira Liga. The former left back was appointed by CD Nacional Funchal for the final eight games of the season with the team lurking at the bottom of the table.
Except for a win and a draw, his team lost all six games and were relegated to Liga Pro. De Deus ended his association with the club by mutual consent at the end of the 2016-17 season.
On Tuesday, goalkeeping coach Joseph Siddy is believed to have overseen the training session and not de Deus.
According to sources close to Goal, both Cesar Farias, who coached them in the second season and Nelo Vingada were contacted by the club management to come in as a replacement. For now, Vingada seems to be the favourite to fill in the shoes of de Deus.
In this case, you have got to question as to why the club didn't extend the contract of Vingada at the opportune moment and chose to let him go to Malaysia in the first place.