Football

Westwood early favourite for National coach’s job

Ashley Westwood.

Ashley Westwood.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

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The All India Football Federation’s technical, coaching and development committee headed by Baichung Bhutia will meet in Mumbai on December 21 to choose the next senior national coach.

Several coaches from across the world, including a few high profile candidates, have expressed interest, but the AIFF is looking for someone with experience in the country.

Rickie Herbert (NorthEast United FC), Trevor Morgan (Kerala Blasters) and Ashley Westwood (Bengaluru FC) are said to be in the running.

Westwood, a Manchester United academy product, who guided the Bangalore-based team to the I-League title in its maiden season, looks the early favourite.

A federation official ruled out the appointment of Brazilian legend Zico, saying, “it will be near impossible for the federation to afford such high profile names.”

AIFF secretary Kushal Das spoke of the importance of the coach hitting the ground running.

“The coach needs to have a good understanding of Indian football and should know the players. A new coach, without prior experience of Indian football, will take months to understand the system and identify the players. We have both World Cup and Olympic qualifiers next year. So, I don’t think we can give the coach a long time to settle in,” Das said.

The AIFF wants to finalise the appointment before the start of the Federation Cup on December 28, giving the new appointee a chance to follow the action in Goa.

Committee member and Mizoram Football Association secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar echoed Das’s view. “We will not be swayed by names,” he told The Hindu. “Ideally, we would want to interact with the shortlisted candidates and listen to their ideas. But the limited time might be a hindrance.”

The committee is also expected to pick a coach for the junior national squad to be in charge of the team at least till the FIFA under-17 World Cup in 2017.

Germans Bernhard Lippert and Nicolai Adam and Dutchman Wim van Zwam are in contention.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 3:05:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/westwood-early-favourite-for-national-coachs-job/article6691660.ece

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