Delhi Dynamos are set to announce Roberto Carlos as their manager for the second edition of the Indian Super League. He, however, won’t be the only big name manning the dug-out. From famous players hoping to make mark as managers to some of the most established tacticians of the game, The Indian Express takes a look at the coaches who will take charge of the eight teams this season.
While India never got to see him deliver his patented banana kick-fired in at over 100 miles-an-hour-with his tree-trunk like left leg in flesh and blood, Roberto Carlos will be looking to swing the Delhi Dynamos’ fortunes from the dug-out. The 43-year-old former Brazil and Real Madrid star’s managerial career began with spend-thrift Russian club, Anzhi Makhachkala in an interim role. He then spent a year at Turkish club Sivasspor before being appointed manager of Akhisar Belediyespor earlier this year. Carlos’ coaching style is yet to be defined, but he brings massive global experience and a collosal presence on the sidelines for Delhi-both in terms of size and aura.
It’s not surprising that Marco Materazzi made it to everyone’s list of the ‘hardest footballers in history’, for he was just that. A domineering presence at the back with a physique and temperament both reminiscent of a raging bull. And it seemed to rub off on the Chennaiyins last year as they stormed into the semifinals, finishing on top in the league stages playing dominant football, before going down to Kerala. Materazzi appeared in six matches, and even brought Alessandro Nesta, out of retirement to shore up Chennai’s defence. It’s unlikely that we will see Marco putting in a hard tackle this season, but the World Cup winner will be around charging his troops up from the dug-out.
Of all the starry names that don the coach’s cap, Zico’s probably the only one carrying a halo of legend proportions. The Brazilian-who recently announced his candidature to be FIFA president— superstar of yore brought his universal expertise as a coach to Indian shores taking Goa to the semis before they lost to Atletico de Kolkata. As a coach, Zico-the greatest footballer to have not lifted the World Cup-has always believed in dialogue and ‘teaching through repititions’ which was evident from his handling of the young Goa outfit. Along the way, he also became the conscience of the ISL’s inaugural season, never pulling any punches when it came to criticizing certain aspects of the league.
Mumbai City FC
The temperamental Anelka was rarely in the coach’s good books-regardless of which part of the world he was showing off his singular talents with a football-during his enigmatic career. And now he’s decided to get a feel of being on the other side of the fence by taking over the reins of Mumbai City FC as their player-manager. Uncharacteristically, Anelka hardly set the ISL stage ablaze last season, proving to be a rather faint shadow of his usual self while scoring just 2 goals in 7 outings for Mumbai, who finished last from bottom. It’ll be interesting to see how he sets the record straight, individually and more importantly for his team’s cause.
FC Pune City
While he made a name for himself as a goal-scoring midfielder in England and Italy-even netting goals for his homeland in the 1990 World Cup-it was as Roberto Mancini’s assistant during Manchester City’s dream run that David Platt really came into prominence.
Known as a strategist, who has written books on formations and systems, Platt is not known to bring a stiff upper-lip mentality to his coaching style. He is, however, used to dealing with some of the biggest names in the sport, and also has a reputation of not holding back when it comes to buying players. It will be interesting to see how he fits into his new role as his new team hope he brings his Midas touch to Pune.
Atletico de Kolkata
With his penchant for drama and stagecraft from the dug-out, and his unbridled passion, the Spaniard seamlessly gelled into the Kolkata football culture. What’s more he also ensured glory for his adopted land by bringing home the first-ever ISL trophy. Habas, who has coached a variety of teams in Spain, not only warmed up to the crowds but also to his players with his motivational skills. To the extent that he had his wards hooked on to every word. He was involved in a spat with FC Goa’s Robert Pires, earning a four-match suspension, and proved that he didn’t look at reputations when it came to team formations, benching Luis Garcia and Jofre for the final, which Atletico won 1-0.
North East United
The last time he was in India, Farias had gone completely unnoticed. He was the coach of the fast-emerging Venezuelan team that played the friendly against Lionel Messi’s Argentina at the Salt Lake Stadium in 2011. This time, he returns as the coach of John Abraham owned North East United, replacing New Zealand’s Ricki Herbert. His teams have the quintessential South American flair and it will be interesting to see if he can rub it off on the players from the North East, who are also known for the technical proficiency among the Indian lot.
Famous for handing David Beckham the captain’s arm-band for the first time, Taylor has a reputation of unearthing talents and nurturing them. The right hand man of legendary English coach Brian Clough, Taylor has managed more than a dozen English clubs apart from their U-21 team. He coached England for one match and was also Bahrain’s manager. He will be in charge of a highly talented Kerala side, which felt agonizingly short of winning the title last year.