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Chapman gets back to coaching after academy plans shelved

Cheering Bhaichung Bhutia from the stands on Wednesday against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Nehru Cup,Carlton Chapman watched the hosts emerge victorious by three goals to one...

Written by Aditya Iyer | New Delhi |
August 27, 2009 12:28:01 am

Cheering Bhaichung Bhutia from the stands on Wednesday against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Nehru Cup,Carlton Chapman watched the hosts emerge victorious by three goals to one — which included a Bhutia header into the net — to gain formidable ground in the tournament. However,it’s not just India’s premier football tournament that saw the former India international in the Capital. Chapman has made Delhi his home for a while coaching a football club—Royal Rangers.

“Well,I always wanted to manage a football club. I was up for the challenge. Edmond Jones,the president of the club,convinced me to manage their affairs and I accepted it,” the 37-year-old told Sportline. Having chosen a lesser known club for a reason,Chapman realises that a tough challenge lies ahead. “Right from the name,the club is different to many football teams in India in many ways. Edmond wants me to take Royal Rangers to great heights and I am excited about it.

“We will have quite a few new faces in the club and with them my goal for this year is to take Royal Rangers into the I-League. It is an enormous challenge,but I am ready for it,” the former East Bengal player said.

Zaheer Abbas,Prashant Jaggi and Pavan Kumar have already made the jump from New Delhi Heroes to Royal Rangers. Abbas claims that Chapman was one of the primary reasons for joining the not-so-famous football side. “Chapman was a great player during his playing days. I’m sure he will make a big difference. He is one of the main reasons for me to make this move,” the player said.

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Chapman had earlier announced that he was going to begin an academy and a club in Rajasthan,but due to the lack of available property he decided to further fine tune his coaching skills in the time being. He,however, said that the academy project has not been shelved indefinitely.

“We have bought land in Rajasthan,but we could not get the sufficient amount and the project is temporarily under wraps,” he said,adding “We will get things underway very soon,and if the academy is ready to open then it will be my top priority.”

In an interview on Monday,Bhutia had named Chapman as one of the best players he ever played with and had suggested that the likes of Chapman would have reached greater heights under current coach Bob Houghton. Chapman also believes that the Englishman has done a tremendous job in shaping Indian football. “Bhaichung is right. Although Houghton comes under a lot of criticism,I think he is doing a fantastic job. Right from taking free-kicks to the way the players pass the ball around,he has changed everything,” Chapman said.

Chapman also insists that Bhutia is still India’s main player. “Steven Dias and Subrata Pal are doing a wonderful job,but for the moment,we will still continue to peg our hopes on Bhaichung. He is still carrying India’s hopes on his shoulders.”

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