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ISL: Newcomers Jamshedpur FC Bank On Experience

Jamshedpur, Nov 15 (IANS) They may be making their debut in the Indian Super League (ISL) when the lucrative football tournament gets rolling later this week, but Jamshedpur FC will be banking on solid experience with a host of seasoned players in their line-up.

Nobody at Jamshedpur FC are under any illusion that life in the ISL will be easy. Jamshedpur FC are among the two new teams in the upcoming expanded edition of ISL that will see 10 teams in action for the first time.

But with Bengaluru FC now into their fifth season, after four years in the I-League, Jamshedpur appear to be the only newcomers in the true sense.

It will not be easy for them, certainly not with the nine other teams making their ambitions clear to win the title.

Jamshedpur too will have lofty ambitions but with experienced coach Steve Coppell at the helm of affairs, there will be a reality check.

“There is no expectation at the moment. Everything is new. There is history but now we’ll step into the unknown. We’ll try to be in the competition as long as possible,” Coppell said.

Coppell needs no introduction to India. He is the Manchester United great, who scored some fantastic goals for his club and country, England.

In India, Coppell became a household name last year when he guided Kerala Blasters FC to the final of the ISL only to lose to ATK on penalties.

Jamshedpur will expect similar magic from Coppell.

“Until we play a few matches it’s tough to say where we will be at the end of the season,” the former winger warned.

To overcome their lack of experience as a club on the field, Jamshedpur FC have carefully built their squad around a mix of Indian and foreign players with prior experience of having played in the ISL.

“We got a good goalkeeper and got a good solid defender. We had a list of a dozen names but we got only 3-4 of them. But we made sure we had players in the right positions,” Coppell said.

During the ISL players draft, Jamshedpur FC opted to pick vastly experienced goalkeeper Subrata Paul.

In defence, Jamshedpur acquired the services of Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo, who has been with defending champions ATK for the past three seasons. The Spanish centre-back was rock solid during ATK’s title winning charge last season and his new club will be hoping for similar performances from him this season.

To add more steel to his defence, Coppell has brought in Cameroonian centre-back Andre Bikey, formerly with FC Pune City and NorthEast United.

India international, Anas Edathodika, should be an automatic starter at the back.

In midfield, Jamshedpur have both strength and depth. South African Sameehg Doutie, a ISL winner with ATK, will lead the way along with popular league players like Brazilian Trindade Gonçalves (FC Goa), Memo (Delhi Dynamos) and of course Mehtab Hossain, who has followed Coppell from Kerala Blasters to Jamshedpur.

“The goal obviously is to reach the playoffs. But we need to first focus on the first game. The emphasis should be on playing good football,” said Hossain, who will be the key in the midfield.

Goals are likely to flow with experienced players like Senegalese striker Talla N’Diaye, Haitian forward Kervens Fils Belfort and Nigerian sharpshooter Izu Azuka, Coppell should not worry much.

Steve Coppell (Image Source: Google)

ISL: Open Transfer Market Better Than Draft, Feels Jamshedpur Coach

Kolkata, Nov 12 (IANS) An open transfer market is what Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell prefers rather than the Indian Super League’s existing players draft system.

“I would prefer an open market instead of going round and round. Hope the draft doesn’t take place next year, but I don’t know,” Coppell told reporters on Sunday.

“We had picked number one as three. We got a good goalkeeper and got a good solid defender. We had a list of a dozen names but we got only 3-4 of them. But we made sure we had players in the right positions. I don’t think it’s an ideal way of doing things,” the former Manchester United winger said.

Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC are the two new teams in the fourth edition of the cash-rich league and Coppell, who guided Kerala Blasters to a runners-up finish last season, said they are a healthy addition.

“Tata and Jamshedpur will be a healthy addition. When I spoke to them I felt it will be a massive challenge to start something new.

“It will be history whatever Jamshedpur FC does. That attracted me to come back. Don’t think there are any expectations given we are a new franchise. Everything is brand new. You’ll appreciate the work that is being put together for the stadium. Until we play 3-4 games we don’t how it will pan out.”

Asked about his philosophy going into the season with the newbies, Coppell said ISL should be approached like “old coaches” which is play for a win. There is little scope for a style in the league, he said, as you always have to improvise as you go along.

“I don’t have a philosophy as such. You have to be pragmatic as a coach. In England, you have 46 games to develop a philosophy. For number of years, you acquire a set of players to play in your philosophy. Here you imagine a squad of players and how you will play. 

“When you join with them, the combination of Indians and international players, you have to be adaptable and be able to change to get the best out of your 11 players. The balance of six Indians and five international players, it’s something that is not set in stone from week 1 and last through to 18. It will change throughout the season. Like old coaches, you just want to win.”

Coppell, who guided Kerala Blasters to a runner-up finish last season, faces Kerala in their second game after taking on NorthEast United in their opener away.

“It’s always good to go back to Kerala. It’s a hotbed for football and they appreciate football. I hope on the night football wins but I am on the other side,” he said.

On expectations from Jamshedpur FC, Coppell said: “It will be history whatever Jamshedpur FC does. That attracted me to come back. Don’t think there are any expectations given we are a new franchise. Everything is brand new.”

Coppell united with his former playmaker Mehtab Hossain, who said he was looking forward to play for JFC.

“I’m very happy to have rejoined with Coppell. I learnt a lot from him. I am learning from him not only football but in life. Even when we lost the first 3 matches, Coppell told us to keep going and that’s how we went into playoffs,” Hossain said.

“I miss the passion of Kochi. I am a professional and I have to give 100 percent to my team. I am excited to go back.

“It’s a new team and a new city. It’s a challenge. You have to travel a lot. Fans should not expect a lot. We will try our best. We hope to do well. It’s a historic occasion for the city. I think Bengaluru FC has the biggest advantage as they have almost all the players from last season,” Coppell added.


Jamshedpur FC Signs Cameroonian Defender Bikey

Kolkata, Aug 29 (IANS) Jamshedpur FC on Tuesday announced the signing of Cameroonian defender Andre Bikey for the 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) football season.

Bikey becomes the fifth foreign signing for Jamshedpur after Moura, Tiri, Doutie and Belfort.

“I am happy to have signed for Jamshedpur. It’s an incredible emotion to be part of the sports legacy of Jamshedpur and its rich football traditions. I am looking forward to work with Steve Coppell again. Steve has been a great influence on me over the years,” Bikey said in a statement issued by the club.

“I am excited about how the team is shaping up and I am hungry to fight for the championship.” 

“Andre has proven his quality and will be an asset to the team. His versatility is of high utility and I am looking forward to work with him once again come October,” coach Steve Coppell said.

Primarily a strong defender, Bikey can also play in the midfield. Having started his youth career at the age of fifteen with Espanyol, Bikey found first team football in Portugal with Marco in the 2002-03 season.

He joined the English Premier League side Reading on a season-long loan in August 2006, before joining the club permanently for a 1 million pound ($1.29 million) fee in April 2007 under Coppell.

He then went on to play for Burnley, Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic.

He also has experience of playing in ISL with North East United in 2015 and with FC Pune City in 2016.

Jamshedpur FC Pick Experienced Indian Players In ISL Draft

Mumbai, July 23 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) debutants Jamshedpur FC picked up experienced Indian footballers from the first 10 rounds of the draft here on Sunday.

The Jamshedpur-based club picked up veteran Indian goalkeeper Subrata Paul along with several players who represented Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the I-league last season. Watch: MS Dhoni Turn Back The Clock At MA Chidambaram Stadium With Huge Sixes

The ISL side picked up centre-back Anas Edathodika, defensive midfielder Mehtab Hossain and right-back Souvik Chakrabarti from Mohun Bagan. Winger Bikash Jairu and full-back Robin Gurung were picked up from East Bengal.

The club also unveiled their logo during the draft.

Midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh and striker Robin Singh who have earlier played for former I-League champions Bengaluru FC (BFC) will re-unite with former BFC coach Ashley Westwood at Amar Tomar Kolkata (ATK). Has Virat Kohli Power Made BCCI Toothless?

A total of 205 players were up for grabs at the draft.

Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell expressed satisfaction with the club’s player selection at the draft and hoped that his team will give a good account of themselves in their debut season in the ISL.

“I am very excited to be a part of the Jamshedpur Football Club. Tata Steel has a long and enduring commitment to football, having a football academy based in Jamshedpur since three decades.

“They have demonstrated a community responsibility to develop young talent to play for India in the future,” he said.

New ISL Club Jamshedpur FC To Rely On Its Young Talent

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.  Mohammad Amir Rates Virat Kohli As The Best Batsman At Present

“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.  5 Reason Why MS Dhoni Is Indispensable?!

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.  I Like To Perform When There Are Challenges Ravindra Jadeja

“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.  Has BCCI Humiliated Dravid, Zaheer and Kumble?

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.  Bhajji, Raina, Kaif Hail Zaheer Being Named India Bowling Consultant