Khalid Jamil is all set to begin his second stint at coaching in Kolkata Maidan as he joined Mohun Bagan on Monday as their new head coach, replacing Sankarlal Chakraborty.
Jamil’s first stint in Kolkata was fairly unsuccessful in terms of winning titles as he won just one out of the three competitions East Bengal took part in.
The Red and Golds won the Calcutta Football League (CFL) under his tutelage, a trophy the club had won for the last seven consecutive seasons before his arrival.
Thus, while the fans rejoiced the 39th CFL triumph, the former Mumbai FC coach’s real test lay in the I-League.
The team started well under Jamil in the 2017/18 season of I-League but faded away towards the business end of the season. From a situation where East Bengal could have won the league by winning their last two matches, the Kolkata club managed two draws and finally finished fourth in the league.
Then came his final assignment where Jamil led East Bengal to the final of the inaugural Super Cup 2018 where they lost to Bengaluru FC.
The team had a fairly smooth run in the Super Cup where they eased past all their opponents but faltered in the final test against the Blues where they lost 4-1 after taking the lead in Bhubaneswar.
Jamil was subsequently sacked by the club officials at the end of the 2017/18 season for failing to win the I-League. The coach who had come to Kolkata after a fairytale season in Aizawl failed to deliver under the immense pressure.
After eight months, Jamil has been called back to Kolkata but this time by East Bengal’s arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
The Green and Maroons have struggled in the ongoing I-League and are currently placed on the sixth position with 15 points from 11 matches.
Taking all the blame of the club’s failures, coach Sankar Lal Chakraborty left the club after succumbing to a fourth loss of the season.
While it is a new challenge for Jamil, the poor start means Mohun Bagan are not the front runners for the league title.
Khalid’s major challenge will be to motivate the side, assemble the broken pieces and inspire the team to finish at a respectable position in the league.
While Jamil was criticised heavily during his time at East Bengal, it must be noted that they lost just the four games under Jamil in the entire last season. Two out of those four defeats were in the I-League derbies and one came in the Super Cup final.
Mohun Bagan have got a tough taskmaster in Khalid who has the capability of turning things around at the club in these difficult times. The manager will be certainly keen to prove a point at the Kolkata maidan.