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  Sports   Football  02 Feb 2018  ‘Mumbai City over reliant on Goian, Emana’

‘Mumbai City over reliant on Goian, Emana’

Published : Feb 2, 2018, 1:20 am IST
Updated : Feb 2, 2018, 1:20 am IST

Jamshedpur FC assistant coach Ishfaq, whose squad has a solid defensive record, says his side plays as a team.

Ishfaq for Jamshedpur FC
 Ishfaq for Jamshedpur FC

Jamshedpur FC assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed feels Mumbai City FC have been over reliant on their skipper Lucian Goian and Achille Emana this season. Goian has been manning the defence well and Emana has been making majority of the moves in the mid-field. Both the teams played out a 2-2 draw in Jamshedpur and have been solid in defence. But Ahmed feels both sides have different style of play.

“Both the teams have a good chance of finishing there (in the top four) but I won’t say we have the same style. That team (Mumbai City) is hugely dependent on their captain and Emana in the middle, but we have been playing as team. All the players for us need to support and function as a team,” he said ahead of the match against Mumbai City FC on Thursday.

Ishfaq whose playing career effectively ended with the I-League side Mumbai FC in 2016 after he had settled into his role as assistant coaching with ISL franchise Kerala Blasters, recalled his brief stint under coach Khalid Jamil.

“All the home matches were a pleasure here while playing for Mumbai FC. And it was mostly because of the Yellow Army, our fans, and I thank them for those special memories,” he said.

The 34-year-old former winger from Srinagar played for the India U-23 side under coach Stephen Constantine and represented top I-League teams Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Salgaocar, Dempo and Pune FC before Mumbai FC. He was with Kerala Blasters for three seasons during which the team reached the ISL final twice. Since the second season onwards, he was handed coaching duties as well, making him the first and only Indian player-manager in the ISL so far.

Ishfaq also had a few stints as television pundit and commentator during the last season. The former winger has also completed his Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 'B' coaching license course.

“Anything regarding football is tempting for me. I think for me this is the right time to concentrate on my coaching and try to learn more about it from my current boss.”

With the increase in the number of Indian players on the field from five to six this season, the role of Indian coaches assisting foreign head coaches has increased in the Indian Super League. Ishfaq, under head coach Steve Coppell, has carried his responsibility well so far.

“So far everything has been good only and it’s wonderful to work under Steve and with the team,” he observed.

Jamshedpur FC had just conceded 11 goals in 13 games keeping six clean sheets prior to their clash against Mumbai City. “I can’t see why we shouldn’t as we have the best defensive record and now upfront we have been scoring in every match. We have to continue doing the right things and results will come. The response from Jamshedpur city has been the best and heart warming and the support from Tata Steel is beyond the words,” he said.

Ishfaq, who has been the torchbearer for professional sports in Kashmir along with Mumbai City FC defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo from more than a decade, was happy with Manzoor Dar’s rise from rags to riches after the Bandipora District resident was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the IPL-11 auction.

“I’m happy for Manzoor but now he has to work harder and try to get into the playing XI. Regarding me and Mehraj, we been doing this for the last 15 years and we have to continue to try and motivate more young guys to take up sports as their profession and we are doing it will continue to do it,” he signed off.

Tags: jamshedpur fc, mumbai city fc