Interesting developments have taken place at NorthEast United FC over the last two months as the club’s technical director Ohad Efrat has taken over many of the responsibilities that are shouldered by the Head Coach of a football team, which is in this case, Khalid Jamil.
After the loss against Jamshedpur FC yesterday, Khalid Jamil spoke out in the press conference, “I started coaching for the first 5-6 matches, after that it was disappointing. It was a dream of mine to coach a team but I kept silent because of many reasons. I want to thank John sir (John Abraham) who was the only one to support me. If it wasn’t for him, I was out.”
The Israeli, who was formerly a Performance Analyst at Crystal Palace’s Academy in England, has taken charge over the dressing room, is an active presence during the training sessions, and has a major say in the tactical aspect of the game along with which players make the teamsheet for a match.
“In the middle of the season, the management decided to bring some Technical Director in, and the boys have worked hard for him too. The management told me that he will be there and help me, but I wasn’t fully involved.”, Khalid further said.
While Khalid Jamil retains his official position as Head Coach of the Highlanders, his authority has been marginalized as he now plays a subordinate role within the club. The 44-year old has also been a shadow of his general expressive self on the touchline, as it is Efrat who is much more vocal in barking orders and rallying his men on the pitch.
Khalid became the first Indian manager in the history of the Indian Super League to be handed the reigns of a club at the start of the season, after a terrific run to the playoffs in 2020/21 with NorthEast United.
With just 1 match left in the league, the Highlanders are rooted to the 10th spot in the table. Injuries to major players like Federico Gallego and Khassa Camara leaving for national duty further weakened them, with January signings Marcelinho and Marco Sahanek failing to hit the ground running.
While the league enters its most exciting phase with many teams still in the hunt for the top spot, the Highlanders are struggling to strike a balance both on and off the pitch.
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