When Khalid Jamil joined East Bengal as their head coach in June 2017, he was one of the most sought-after names in Indian football after a miraculous title-winning campaign with Aizawl FC.
A year and a half after that, Khalid Jamil joined Mohun Bagan after being without a job for half a season.
The once celebrated Indian coach has seen his credentials questioned during his stint with East Bengal. He is now desperate to prove his worth again in the Kolkata Maidan which had tagged him as a failure after failing to win the league title.
Jamil was off to a flying start at East Bengal by winning the Calcutta Football League (CFL) but the honeymoon period did not last for long. A fourth-place finish in the I-League and a thumping 4-1 defeat against Bengaluru FC in Super Cup 2018 final in Bhubaneswar marked the end of his coaching career at the Kolkata club.
East Bengal had brought him on board to replicate his Aizawl FC success and bring home the much elusive I-League title. Failing to do so the Red and Golds parted ways with the young Indian coach.
It is a very common saying in Maidan that a player or a coach who has not delivered at the Kolkata clubs has not really proven their worth in the Indian football.
This is probably one of the reasons the former Mumbai FC coach returned to the City of Joy and this time as the head coach of East Bengal’s arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
After a disastrous start in the I-League 2018/19 under Sankarlal Chakraborty which forced the Bengali coach to resign from his post, Bagan officials roped in Jamil as their new head coach.
Jamil began his second inning in Kolkata with back to back wins against Minerva Punjab and NEROCA FC at home. But his real test lies now as his side lock horns against East Bengal in the second Kolkata derby of the I-League season on Sunday.
Jamil will have plenty to ponder upon when Mohun Bagan take the field in the derby on Sunday. A fact has to be noted that Khalid has never won a Kolkata derby as a coach. East Bengal drew one and lost two derbies when Khalid Jamil was in charge of them.
But circumstances have changed now and he is in charge of their arch-rivals. It is a do or die for Bagan who are still hoping to remain in the title race but Jamil would want to win this match especially from a personal point of view.
A win on Sunday would help him somewhat restore his goodwill in Kolkata and he will want to end his winless streak as a coach in the biggest clash on Indian football.