‘India’s Love for Foreign Coaches a Colonial Influence’

Subrata Bhattacharya, a well known defender of his time, feels Indian football’s love for foreign coaches is a relic of the gone colonial era. The former national player and a long term Mohun Bagan star was also a successful coach at club level. He has given several trophies to different Indian clubs.

Bhattacharya feels that “we have still not been able to come out of the influence foreigners and that is the reason that we are ready to bring anything that is foreign. Otherwise, how can we forget what coaches like Amal Dutta or PK Banerjee did for Indian football”.

“See, we are still under the influence of ‘Bideshi anugotto’ (Colonial influence). So by bringing in foreign coaches, the officials are trying to show that they are doing a great job. But how successful are these foreign coaches in comparison to our own PK Banerjee or Amal Dutta. Who will tell these officials that their line of thinking is wrong? In fact, as a club coach I have beaten all the foreign coaches of my time,” Bhattacharya told IANS.

“Myself, Subhash Bhowmik, during our times, have defeated clubs coached by foreign coaches. What I feel is that apart from Indian coaches, it is very difficult to make the Indian footballers understand what is expected of them. Tactical football, strategical football whatever they may say, they have not been able to make the Indian footballers understand that. Whatever the officials are doing, they are doing with a misconception or may be intentional, otherwise how can a coach like Subhash Bhowmik be jobless,” he went on to say.

Bhattacharya also rued the fact that a coach has to have an “A” licence to train a top league team.

“It is not that all the coaches in the world have ‘A’ licence. I can tell you several names who do not have ‘A’ licence. ‘A’ licence does not guarantee you a good coach. Had that been the case, then in India we have several ‘A’ licensed coaches, why they are not being appointed? It’s like they are neither on this side nor on that side,” he said.

He also set aside the myth that Indian coaches cannot control the players. “Had that been the case, then how is it that we coached the teams, even Indian teams, till this recent influx of foreign coaches. As a club coach, I have three National Leagues in my kitty.”

Bhattacharya is in favour of an agitation by the former players and coaches who have given their all for the country as a player or as a coach, as he feels that in India nothing happens without an agitation. But at the same time he also feels that it is very difficult to bring them all together.

“Have these foreign coaches been able to bring the spectators back to the stadium? Why then run after them,” he asks.

Instead he wants the people in power to use the popularity, the quality and the achievements of the former players and coaches like Sukhbinder Singh, Armando Colaco, Subhash Bhowmik.

“They are afraid of the fact that if they bring these players then nobody will listen to them,” he said.

“These foreign coaches, at the best can beat Sri Lanka, Maldives or Bangladesh. May be a few ups and downs in the team ranking, that’s it,” Bhattacharya signed off.

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