ISHFAQ AHMED has been appointed as the assistant coach of the new ISL team Jamshedpur FC for the upcoming season. Post the announcement TFG sat down with the former Indian footballer to know more about his plans & strategy for the upcoming season of ISL 2017.
He recently completed his 'B' licensing and it is not the first time Ishfaq will be seen in the role of a coach. After playing for Kerala Blasters FC since the inception of ISL, he was also part of the coaching staff as a mentor and later became the assistant coach, working under Steve Coppell. Moving to Jamshedpur along with Coppell will only strengthen this partnership.
He talks about the challenges the team and management will face as the new team. He said,
"Starting from the scratch is the biggest challenge for the management and the coaching staff as well. The management literally has to set up a new club and all its requirements. Just like other ISL teams faced while starting out in 2014 difficulties in setting up the team and other things so we'll be going through that process now."
He further adds,
"Jamshedpur is a smaller city but the people there are very passionate about the sport. It also adds up on the pressure as the fans will have expectations from the team. We'll be picking players through the draft system which is a tricky situation as you may not get the players you wanted because you are fighting with nine other teams."
He also states that though the team maybe new to set up a club that is playing at top level tournament like this, the management is well equipped.
"One thing I must stress upon is that the management is very organised, they know what they are doing. So it is pleasing to know that. They are serious about things as the people on board are associated with the sport. The only thing is that we are running against time because everything needs to be done in time and it has to be done well."
When asked if that is what attracted him to the job, he said,
"Well definitely it is one of the things. And when I met them, the way they presented their ideas and the way they work is brilliant. So it is a pleasure working or being associated with such a big corporate house."
Talking about working alongside Coppell, he said,
"When I got this opportunity, I didn't want to let go of it as coaching would give more knowledge about the sport and it is always good for experience. I learnt a lot under Steve, he's a very calm manager and my part is very interesting. It excites me as I get to train/play with the players. The players can always approach me and that can be communicated with the head coach post that. So yes I'm enjoying this role and happy to be associated with Steve once again."
He also talks about how his final meeting with Kerala Blasters went about and also stated the team and its fans will always be special. He ends the conversation with the message for both set of fans, wishes for KBFC and asks people of Jamshedpur to get ready. Listen to all of it and more on the TFG Interview Podcast below: