I-League second division club FC Bengaluru United announced the appointment of Khalid Jamil as their new head coach on Monday. The former I-League-winning gaffer recently parted ways with Indian Super League club NorthEast United FC after a tumultuous run in the 2021-22 season.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Khalid Jamil insisted that he wasn't going to focus on his rough patches at his previous club. He added that he was determined to help FC Bengaluru United to I-League first division. Khalid Jamil said:
"I only have one goal now - to help FC Bengaluru United qualify for the I-League. I don’t want to focus on my past experiences, they’re my own. For now, I’ll try to help FCBU grow."
With FC Bengaluru United stint, Khalid Jamil has the opportunity to start with a clean slate
Irrespective of his recent slump with NEUFC, the former East Bengal tactician is one of the most sincere personalities in Indian football. Starting his career at Mumbai FC, Khalid rose to fame after conquering the coveted I-League title with Aizawl FC in the 2016-17 season.
After brief stints with East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, the Kuwait-born gaffer went on to become the assistant coach with the Highlanders. Just midway through the ISL 2020-21 season, the Assam-based club dismissed head coach Gerard Nus and appointed Khalid Jamil as interim coach.
The Highlanders went on a 10-game unbeaten streak and advanced to the play-off rounds. The former Mahindra United midfielder became the first Indian manager to make it to the ISL playoffs and was appointed as the permanent head coach ahead of the 2021-22 season.
NorthEast, however, finished 10th in the 2021-22 league table, winning just three of their 20 matches. There were rumours that the coach's relationship with the team's administration had deteriorated during the season.
The offer from the Karnataka club has come at the perfect time for Jamil as it allows him to return to an environment where he is expected to have more control over the day-to-day proceedings. Jamil expressed to Sportskeeda:
"It’s my pleasure to join this club and I’m very happy that I got the opportunity. Obviously, it’s a new challenge, so I’ll do my best and try to give the best results to the team. At present, I am here for a year and Bengaluru United’s target is to qualify for the I-League first division, so that’s my main aim too."
Founded in 2018, FCBU have been trying to get into the I-League for a few seasons now. The appointment of Khalid Jamil might finally give them a crucial boost ahead of the upcoming season.
But after managing an ISL club, is returning to the third-tier a step-down for the Indian tactician? Jamil doesn't think so. He said:
"No, it’s a pleasure for me that Gaurav Manchanda [Founder of FCBU] gave me this opportunity. So I don’t want to let him down. Secondly, I don’t think in any way this is a step-down. This is a new challenge for me, I’ll have to work hard and use all my experience."
Before signing off, the new boss had a message for FC Bengaluru United fans. He said:
"We need the support of the fans as our 12th man. I am here for Bengaluru United. I also want to say that it’s important to give the local players a chance and if we can do that, it will help us grow as a club."