Khalid Jamil: ‘We grew in self-belief as the tournament progressed’

Jamil appreciated the nice dressing-room atmosphere, the support of the team owners and the belief of its supporters on the ability of the team as the factors determining its rise.

Aizawl FC coach Khalid Jamil seen instructing his squad during the match against Mohun Bagan.   -  AIFF Media

In the agony of loss which came with his team losing the I-League match and virtually the title to Aizawl FC, Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen was all praise for his counterpart Khalid Zamil. The Aizawl FC coach, who travelled to the capital of this tiny hilly state from Mumbai to oversee the fortune of the club in the I-League, has risen high in the esteem of everyone in the football fraternity for turning a virtual nonentity into a title contender.

Dispelling the gloom of the setback, Sen managed a smile appreciating the work done by Zamil in bringing together a group of talented but little known footballers into a champion outfit. “Aizawl’s emergence is great advertisement for Indian football. And I am proud that an Indian coach has achieved so much with the team,” Sen, who had led Mohun bagan to the title couple of seasons back, was generous in appreciation. “The success of Indian coaches is essential to the development of football in the country,” Sen added while appreciating the “amazing atmosphere” of football in Mizoram.

“We never thought about the title when we started but as we progressed through the tournament our self belief increased. Hope we can ensure the title with a win in the last match (against Shillong Lajong FC),” Jamil said assessing Aizawl FC’s successful journey. “I anticipated that Mohun Bagan will be going defensive in the second half and urged my players to go for the kill after the break. It worked,” he added. Jamil appreciated the nice dressing-room atmosphere, the support of the team owners and the belief of its supporters on the ability of the team as the factors determining its rise.

“We dominated for the greater part of the 90 minutes but perhaps it was not our day. This is football where there are times when the team playing better does not win,” Sen said about the defeat. “We were done in by a momentary lack of concentration towards the end of the match. I feel we were a bit unlucky today especially because of the numerous opportunities the players wasted,” Sen concluded.