NORTHEAST UNITED FC have come close to qualify for the Indian Super League play offs twice in the past three seasons.
The debut season one was a miserable one as the highlanders finished rock bottom in the league table. Three seasons saw the team being overlooked by a different new coach every season. This year too, NEUFC have roped in a new coach in João Carlos Pires de Deus.
The first striking aspect about Jao is his age. He is 40 and only FC Goa’s Sergio Lobera is older than him among coaches in the ISL. Jao has not had a very extensive playing career at the highest level. He has not played higher than the second tier. At 27, he retired as a player and moved into coaching. His first full time coaching assignment was being the national team coach for African nation of Cape Verde in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. That did not go too well as the country did not qualify. Jao was eventually sacked from the job.
João Carlos Pires de Deus, in Portugal, worked with plenty of teams in the lower divisions but none of them seeing him for even an entire season before being sacked. He did get experience in the top tier of Portugal while working with Gil Vicente FC.
To summarise, Jao Deus is a young coach whom certainly does not have an impressive CV but he does possess a great deal of experience after learning from managing different teams. Jao has previously worked on the fitness aspect of a team early in his coaching career. This will surely be an asset when the perils of playing multiple matches in a short span will show up in a long ISL season.
Also, Jao was able to implement his philosophy at the grassroots during his time at Cape Verde. This means NEUFC will benefit from Jao’s added experience in the long term. We await to see the style of play that Jao brings to the field with his youthful mind.