The big kick-off in the Indian Super League (ISL) is getting closer and closer — and for one manager in particular, the new campaign can’t come soon enough. Not that the bosses of all the teams taking part in the new season, which starts in October, are any less enthusiastic. Indeed, as you read this, managers at Kerela Blasters, defending champions Bengaluru FC, Goa, Northeast United, Pune City FC, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos, Jamshedpur FC, Mumbai City, and ATK are all preparing for the curtain-raiser.
For NorthEast United coach Robert Jarni, it will be extra special. He has just been appointed as the head honcho of the club — which is based in Guwahati, Assam — and he is quietly confident, excited and very happy at the prospect.
Following his appointment, the former Croatia World Cup ace (who has previously coached at Hajduk Split, Puskas Akademia FC, Pecsi Mecsek Football Club, and Fudbalski klub Sarajevo as well as being head coach of the Croatian U19 and U20 teams), told reporters:
“I am absolutely thrilled to take on this role at NorthEast United. And I can assure you that the project has my full commitment. This is my first foray into managing an Asian club and I am thrilled to bring in an exciting brand of football which I am convinced that the supporters will thoroughly enjoy.”
His enthusiasm and delight are shared by NorthEast United’s executive director Priya Runchal who said that the club is determined to add to the success of last year, adding:
“Jarni brings the right blend of experience and tactical insight to take this team forward, with a focus on youth development.”
Meanwhile, FC Goa’s Spanish coach Sergio Lobera Rodriguez has moved to bolster his squad with an eye on the new season by recruiting promising defender Aiban Dohling on a two-year contract. Dohling, who is aged 23, made 19 appearances for I-League Shillong Lajong last season. And he cites the way in which FC Goa about their game plan that is a big attraction to making the move. He said:
“It does without saying that I am very pleased to have joined FC Goa because I love their style of play and I think I can contribute with the way that I like to pass and play with the ball. It is a big reason as to why I chose FC Goa as the team to join.”
The club’s Ravi Puskur, head of technical operations, said:
“We are so glad to have acquired the services of Aiban. He is a player with a physical presence, he has a strong aerial game and is very comfortable on the ball. These are all qualities that we look for in our center backs and are fundamental to succeeding in our style of play. With Aiban, we are confident he will demonstrate these qualities and increase the competition for places within the team.”