I-League managers must have the qualifications and experience
Recently, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided to make it compulsory for all technical directors in the I-League football teams to have ‘A-license’ if they are to be in the technical area on the football pitch, from 2014-15.
Four renowned coaches who have served Indian football for a long time: Subhas Bhowmick, Sukhwinder Singh, Subrata Bhattacharya and Bimal Ghosh, will have to pack their bags. Is this decision right and fair or is it too harsh?
As we are inching towards professional football, it is important to know the set up in professional clubs all over the world. In a professional set up, the chief coach is referred to as a ‘Manager’ and under him there are specialists coaches who assist him in actual training.
This is because the manager is not only involved in coaching but has several other responsibilities such as recruitment of players, managing the players on and off the field too, technical and tactical planning in consultation with the coaches whereas a coach is mostly involved in training the players in both fitness and skills.
A perfect example of a chief coach fit to be called ‘Manager’ was Armando Colaco, the former Dempo SC coach, for his overall duties which went beyond coaching. The task of recruitment of players and deciding about their salaries must be given to the chief coach as any disparity in salaries sometimes lead to grudges and can affect their performance.
It’s time ‘Coaches’ are given more responsibilities and are then appointed as ‘Managers’ by the management of clubs in India, too.
In the Indian club set up, AIFF allows one ‘A-license’ coach and others assisting him in the dugout. For example in the recently concluded I-League, Churchill Bros Sports Club had Mariano Dias as a chief coach and Shri Subash Bhowmick, the technical director. Other teams had one ‘A-license’ coach and assistant coaches and physios.
It looks like AIFF is targeting only technical directors. What about other teams where there are no technical directors but have only assistant coaches? This will mean that teams with technical directors must have two ‘A-license’ qualified coaches whereas other teams can do with one.
Shri Sukhvinder Singh was once found worthy to coach the Indian team but the same person is now found to be unfit to coach a club by AIFF. An inexperienced Diego Maradona was made the chief coach of Argentina in the 2010 World Cup held at South Africa and nobody dared to ask for his qualification.
To be fair to all the coaching staff in I-League football clubs, the chief coach with an ‘A-license’ must henceforth be called a ‘Manager’ under whom all other staff should function. It should be the prerogative of the ‘Manager’ to choose the staff working under him and he alone should decide about their qualifications.
AIFF must specify the exact composition of personnel in the dugout for all the clubs so that it is a level playing field for all.