Owen Coyle: ‘There is huge potential in India’

With the Indian Super League (ISL) starting on November 19, Jamshedpur FC manager Owen Coyle said that his team will play attacking football and try to win every game.

“We want to play an attacking brand of football that Jamshedpur fans like to watch, we want to get the ball down, passing and moving,” he told Sportstar.

“Last year, we were obviously very good defensively. What we wanted to do was add a creative spark this year. We’ve done that certainly, by bringing in Greg (Stewart), Ishan Pandita, and Jordan. I know (that) Jamshedpur, as a new club, we haven’t been in those playoffs yet and, that’s something that we want to try and correct now,” he added.

Coyle, under whom Burnley earned a promotion to the Premier League, has previously taken Chennaiyin FC to the final in the 2019-20 season.

With the Scottish gaffer in the dugout, Jamshedpur has brought in former Rangers forward Greg Stewart and Nerijus Valskis, a former Golden Boot winner, in the Indian Super League.

“We’ve shown that we have an eye for players and we continue picking up those good players as we believe we’ve done this summer as well,” said Coyle.

He acknowledged the potential of Indian talents but said there was a need to play more games and find and nurture more talents.

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“The more games we play, the more we train together, the better these players can become because there is potential for India to have some fantastic players and a very good team as we move forward through the years,” he said.

He added, “There is huge potential in the country and of course, like most things, it comes down to finance.

“But whether it’s the government, the independent states or wealthy people, if we can get finance into the grassroots level to help and develop, they (Indian talents) could one day go on to become stars of the Indian national team.”

Right combination: “We’ve shown that we have an eye for players and we continue picking up those good players as we believe we’ve done our recruitment this summer as well,” says Coyle.   –  Sportzpics / ISL


Jamshedpur FC was one of the five ISL clubs to play in the Durand Cup 2021, Asia’s oldest football tournament.

While FC Goa won the tournament, Jamshedpur FC, which played with its academy players, was knocked out in the group stages.

“It wasn’t about prioritising,” clarified Coyle. “We had our academy players — one or two reasons. I mean obviously with the visas, then we were still trying to sign players at the time so you wouldn’t have had your whole squad,” he said.

Coaching his second year in a bio-bubble, he also stressed the importance of fans, especially Jamshedpur FC’s fans, the Red Miners.

“We didn’t have any fans last year, so we know exactly how that works and it’s a blow for everybody because we all want the fans at the games,” he said.

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“The fans are the lifeblood of the game and you can have good games of football, but when the fans are there that just enhances the whole experience. My first game in India and in the ISL was against Jamshedpur and it was an outstanding experience,” he added.

Jamshedpur FC finished third from the bottom the season before Coyle joined. With the Scottsman in the dugout, the team missed the playoffs by four points last season.

“I think this year will be even more competitive than the last because I think a lot of teams have made very good signings. We would be competitive on every front. We want to be as high as we can and aim to win trophies,” he said.

The ISL side, which made its debut in 2017, has never finished in the top four. With Jamshedpur FC beginning the new season against SC East Bengal on November 21, it will look to improve on the same.

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