Kolkata, July 19 (IANS) New Indian Super League (ISL) club Jamshedpur FC are promising to dish out an attractive brand of football in their debut season where they will get to test their youthful talent developed at the Tata Football Academy (TFA).
Promoted by Tata Steel, the club management say that, despite odds, it was confident of being ready for the big league well ahead of time. It was only last month that the promoters successfully bid for the Jamshedpur franchise of the high-profile ISL.
According to assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed, the club’s focus will be on building assets for the future and nurturing young talent, in sync with TFA’s philosophy.
“We have grassroot plans in a big way. An academy is already in place and the Tatas have been doing this for 30 years. Most of the Indian national players for the last 30 years are coming from TFA.”
Admitting it won’t be smooth sailing in the first season itself, Ishfaq — who played a key role in bringing Steve Coppell from Kerala Blasters where the two worked together — said his boys would play an attractive brand of football.
“I am sure, after talking to the management, we will be one of the most professionally organised teams. This year there will be a little difficulty, but we will try to play a good brand of football.
“It is a difficult period now starting from scratch and making the team. But it will be okay soon, as the management is very good. They know the time is less and it could get very difficult,” said Ishfaq, who joined Jamshedpur FC from Kerala Blasters, where he was a player-cum-coach.
In stark contrast to the other new entrant Bengaluru FC, who already have a settled team and have won the I-League and the Federation Cup twice along with reaching the AFC Cup final, Jamshedpur FC would be a virgin entity.
“One thing I can guarantee you is that we will be ready before time,” Ishfaq told IANS in an interview.
Ishfaq seemed very bullish on the new coach.
“Steve likes to keep the ball more on the ground and not play typical English style of long balls. He won’t change his philosophy and the brand of football we play might be like Kerala Blasters,” said Ishfaq, a B-licensed coach.
About the players’ draft scheduled to take place on Sunday in Mumbai, Ishfaq said: “The draft will be very unpredictable as teams will upset your plans. So you have to be ready with Plan A, B, C and also D maybe.”
The focus of Jamshedpur FC, Ishfaq said, will be to build assets for the future and nurture young talent — which is also in sync with TFA’s philosophy.
An ISL side from this season will have six Indians and five foreigners, a reversal of the old rule. Welcoming the move, Ishfaq said one might see all 10 teams having Indian goalkeepers this time around.
“I don’t think things will change much. I have always believed even with six foreigners you needed five good Indian players. Tactically, you might see an Indian goalkeeper in every team. You need six Indian quality players to start. It is a good thing for Indian football as our players will have more playing time.”
Jamshedpur FC will zero in on a pre-season destination immediately after the draft, said Ishfaq, who during his playing days donned East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting and Dempo SC colours.
(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at [email protected])