ISL: Open transfer market better than draft, feels Jamshedpur coach

Kolkata, Nov 12 (IANS) An open transfer market is what Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell prefers rather than the Indian Super League’s existing players draft system.

“I would prefer an open market instead of going round and round. Hope the draft doesn’t take place next year, but I don’t know,” Coppell told reporters on Sunday.

“We had picked number one as three. We got a good goalkeeper and got a good solid defender. We had a list of a dozen names but we got only 3-4 of them. But we made sure we had players in the right positions. I don’t think it’s an ideal way of doing things,” the former Manchester United winger said.

Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC are the two new teams in the fourth edition of the cash-rich league and Coppell, who guided Kerala Blasters to a runners-up finish last season, said they are a healthy addition.

“Tata and Jamshedpur will be a healthy addition. When I spoke to them I felt it will be a massive challenge to start something new.

“It will be history whatever Jamshedpur FC does. That attracted me to come back. Don’t think there are any expectations given we are a new franchise. Everything is brand new. You’ll appreciate the work that is being put together for the stadium. Until we play 3-4 games we don’t how it will pan out.”

Asked about his philosophy going into the season with the newbies, Coppell said ISL should be approached like “old coaches” which is play for a win. There is little scope for a style in the league, he said, as you always have to improvise as you go along.

“I don’t have a philosophy as such. You have to be pragmatic as a coach. In England you have 46 games to develop a philosophy. For number of years you acquire a set of players to play in your philosophy. Here you imagine a squad of players and how you will play.

“When you join with them, the combination of Indians and international players, you have to be adaptable and be able to change to get the best out of your 11 players. The balance of six Indians and five international players, it’s something that is not set in stone from week 1 and last through to 18. It will change throughout the season. Like old coaches, you just want to win.”

Coppell, who guided Kerala Blasters to a runner-up finish last season, faces Kerala in their second game after taking on NorthEast United in their opener away.

“It’s always good to go back to Kerala. It’s a hotbed for football and they appreciate football. I hope on the night football wins but I am on the other side,” he said.

On expectations from Jamshedpur FC, Coppell said: “It will be history whatever Jamshedpur FC does. That attracted me to come back. Don’t think there are any expectations given we are a new franchise. Everything is brand new.”

Coppell united with his former playmaker Mehtab Hossain, who said he was looking forward to play for JFC.

“I’m very happy to have rejoined with Coppell. I learnt a lot from him. I am learning from him not only football but in life. Even when we lost the first 3 matches, Coppell told us to keep going and that’s how we went into play offs,” Hossain said.

“I miss the passion of Kochi. I am a professional and I have to give 100 percent to my team. I am excited to go back.

“It’s a new team and a new city. It’s a challenge. You have to travel a lot. Fans should not expect a lot. We will try our best. We hope to do well. It’s a historic occasion for the city. I think Bengaluru FC has the biggest advantage as they have almost all the players from last season,” Coppell added.

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