2012 Indian Football Year In Review: Best Coach
Sportskeeda continues to review the past year in Indian football and today we pay tribute to the three best coaches of 2012.
Armando Colaco (Dempo)
The most successful coach in I-League history added another crown in April by securing a record fifth Indian domestic league title with a goalless draw against direct rivals East Bengal. The title triumph was extra significant for Armando as he had suffered a heart attack in December 2011 and had to undergo an angioplasty to remove three blocks in his arteries. He was advised three months of rest but returned to coaching in less than 60 days and brought the best out of his Dempo side to regain the I-League crown. Armando lost Ranti Martins to Prayag United this summer, but he made a shrewd signing in Ryuji Sueoka and Dempo are once again challenging for the title despite hardly spending unlike three Kolkata clubs. Armando Colaco’s side also finished as Federation Cup runners-up, and the 59-year-old will try everything in order to win his sixth league title.
Trevor Morgan (East Bengal)
The English coach has changed the fortunes of East Bengal since his arrival in 2010 by once again establishing them as one of the top teams in the country. He lifted three trophies in 2012 – the IFA Shield, the Calcutta Football League and the Federation Cup – and finished runners-up for the second straight season in the I-League. Morgan had incredibly resigned after a disagreement with club officials regarding player recruitments, but had a change of heart after assurances from the club management. The Englishman was adjudged FPAI Coach of the Year by the players of the I-League and guided East Bengal to a 21-game unbeaten run in all competitions. His third season in Indian football got off to the perfect start as his side won the Federation Cup and are one of the favourites for the I-League title despite the recent slump. Morgan has won almost everything in India and would like to add the I-League crown in 2013.
Arthur Papas (Pailan Arrows & India U-22)
The young Australian was brought to India by AIFF technical director Rob Baan to take charge of the newly opened FIFA-AIFF academy in Navi Mumbai, but would later be appointed as the head coach of the India U-22 team for the U-22 2013 Asian Cup qualifiers. India were expected to lose every game but Arthur Papas brought the best out of a talented group of players, as they recorded emphatic wins over Turkmenistan and Lebanon and held the UAE. A narrow defeat to Iraq and a loss against Oman in the final group game saw them narrowly miss qualification, but Papas had proved his coaching credentials and was soon made the coach of Pailan Arrows. It took Arrows 24 games to get their first I-League win in 2011-12, but under Papas they won their first two games of the 2012-13 I-League and were unbeaten in nine matches in all competitions. Papas’ Arrows outfit look well set for a top half finish this season and the Aussie’s growing reputation is likely to get enhanced in 2013.
Winner: Armando Colaco
Despite the consistency of Morgan and over-achievement of Papas, Armando gets this accolade for his ability of getting the best results with players that he has developed over the years rather than buying talent from elsewhere. Armando tends to put a lot of faith in Indian players, and that maybe explains his fallout with foreigners Rohan Ricketts and Stephen Offei, but Dempo were expected to suffer from Beto’s loss last season and yet they went on to win the title. And this season, despite Ranti Martins’ exit, they are once again challenging for the I-League crown. Armando is an example of why stability is important in Indian football, and although the Dronacharya Award once again eluded him, the former Dempo player gets our nod for the best coach of 2012.