When Indian Super League (ISL) new entrants Jamshedpur FC announced their overseas signings before the season started, there was a clear pattern to see for everybody. Steve Coppell was signing players proven in the ISL before and those with skillsets that suits the type of football the Englishman prefers.
The Men of Steel signed Andre Bikey and Tiri - two strong and proven central defenders. In midfield, there was Memo who would further solidify the defence and Trindade Goncalves. In attack, Kervens Belfort followed Coppell from Kerala Blasters to Jamshedpur FC and Nigerian striker Izu Azuka was also recruited.
But the name which generated excitement among the fans was that of South African winger Sameehg Doutie. He had already set the league alight in the 2015 and 2016 seasons with Kolkata-based ATK and played an integral role in the Jose Molina-coached team winning silverware last season.
It was expected that Doutie will be a vital cog in Steve Coppell's Jamshedpur FC, given that the Englishman is somebody who loves pace on the wings. Coppell's teams are solid in defence and look towards their wingers to be the outlet in attack.
Doutie and Belfort were expected to form a fearsome duo on the wings but things haven't really panned out according to plan. He has made just the six appearances so far but strikingly has played only 204 minutes of football. Only two of those six appearances were starts as well.
It was perplexing to see Coppell not use Doutie extensively at the start of the season given that the Englishman had rated him so high that he had deployed Ishfaq Ahmed to man-mark Doutie during the 2016 ISL final between ATK and Kerala Blasters.
But both Coppell and Doutie have not got along together at Jamshedpur FC and the clash between the two has not really helped the ISL debutants. Though the team has the best defensive record in the league, the attack has been shoddy to say the least.
They have scored just the five goals in nine games. But they have 10 points in their kitty only because of their miserly defence which has conceded just six goals. Pointedly, Jamshedpur have drawn four of their nine games and had they some inspiration in attack, the draws could have been converted into wins.
Obviously, Coppell used Doutie sparingly after a fallout, often as a late substitute. An infuriated Doutie responded by checking out of the team hotel without informing anybody after the team's 1-0 win over Delhi Dynamos on December 6.
While that episode looked lke it might signal the end of Doutie's Jamshedpur FC career but the South African buried the hatchet with Coppell and featured again only against Bengaluru FC on December 21st. Though he came on very late, he won the decisive penalty that won Jamshedpur FC the game.
But Doutie was only afforded five minutes in the next game against Chennaiyin FC and did not feature against FC Goa in their last game. Clearly, Coppell's feud with Doutie is not completely in the past and it is hurting the Men of Steel.
Doutie's electric pace is a potent weapon which could help Steve Coppell's side notch precious points which could be the difference between the reaching the playoffs or not. Will we see more of the South African winger in the latter half of the season? Jamshedpur FC fans could not be faulted for hoping so.