Indian football is on a rise: Mohun Bagan's English coach

Mohun Bagan
Kolkata, July 26: High-profile English coach Steve Darby today termed his move to Mohun Bagan an "intelligent" one as, according to him, Indian football is on a rise.

Overwhelmed by the frantic, boisterous supporters at his introduction ceremony, the 56-year-old said the atmosphere was just like that of EPL here.

"It really made sense to come here. From FIFA to AFC all eyes are now on Indian football, which is on a rise. The whole world wants Indian football to succeed with the population and passion for the sport. I think, it's an intelligent move for me," Darby, an UEFA A licence holder since 1979, said.

An official FIFA instructor for the Oceania region in 1980 before coaching more than seven teams, Darby further said he had knowledge of most of the players and seen them in action in television.

Heaping praise on India striker Sunil Chhetri, the former under-23 Thailand coach said, "Chhetri is a fantastic signing for the club. I have seen most of the players who played for India in a match against Thailand. I will just have to see the fringe players."

Asked about his target with the club who had a pathetic last season, Darby said, "I don't think Steve Darby can change anything. It's the players who can change it."

Darby, who has coaching experience with more than seven clubs, said the Indian calendar was ''unusual'', so his main aim would be to build squads and not an 11-member side when there's a 40 matches cap on a player.

"It's something that is not in my hands. It's an unusual calendar. Normally, it's national league and the knockout tournament that get top priority. But here there is equal passion for the local league," Darby, who coached Johar FA to Malaysian FA Cup and Premier League titles, said.

"There is a 40 matches restriction on a player. I have to keep that in mind and strengthen the squads. We need teams of more than 11. There will be injuries and recover processes players are no animal after all."

Darby showed his excellent communication skills when he uttered the customary words, much to the surprise of the supporters gathered at the club tent.

Darby said he knows his East Bengal counterpart Trevor James Morgan personally.

"We have worked in Singapore. We have a healthy working relationship. It will be really good to have his on the rival camp here. I am looking forward to the challenge," Darby, who coached Home United to double titles in Singapore leagues, said.

An admirer of former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, Darby also looks up to Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello.

"I have tremendous respect for Mourinho, a real professional and excellent organised. At the same time, you have to admire Alex Ferguson, he keeps winning and that's a reality. Also Capello is a top class coach.

"It will be great to pick some things from them like the ruthlessness, man management skills of Ferguson, the organisational capabilities of Mourinho." Darby will begin coaching from July 27.


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