Chirag United Kerala FC, which is struggling in the I-League's relegation zone, has fired its head coach Nizam Packeer Ali and has brought in Kolkata's former international Biswajit Bhattacharya as the team's Technical Director.

“We have sacked Packeer Ali and Biswajit, the new technical director, will be in charge of the team,” said Rana Bandhopadhyay, the vice-president of the Kolkata-based Chirag Computers which holds a majority stake in the Kochi-based club, from Kolkata on Monday.

Ghosh is coach

The club has also roped in as coach SAI's Ananta Kumar Ghosh, who holds an AFC ‘A' licence. “But Ananta Ghosh will be joining later,” said Bandhopadhyay.

Bandhopadhyay, along with Bhattacharya, who was earlier with Kolkata's George Telegraph FC, and other officials will be in Kochi on Tuesday evening. Chirag is expected to resume training on Wednesday.

Packeer Ali had taken over the team just four months ago and with the management changing its foreign players a couple of times, the side could not settle down. Injuries to key players, including captain and midfielder K. Ajayan, also added to the coach's woes.

The changes mean that Chirag will have its third coach in about five months. Packeer Ali was brought in after the Chirag management fired coach P.K. Kunhikrishnan in early October after a dismal run in the Federation Cup in Kolkata.

Irony

Ironically, Chirag won its last game under Packeer Ali against Air India 3-1 in Pune last week and is now just three points away from the 11th spot which could help it avoid relegation.

The victory in Pune was just Chirag's fourth from 19 games and the team is now in the 12th spot with 14 points with seven rounds to go in the 14-team I-League.

The I-League is currently enjoying a 40-day break and Packeer Ali has returned to Sri Lanka and the moves to replace him began during his absence.

Chirag resumes its campaign on March 24 with the match against Shillong Lajong FC. — Special Correspondent

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper