Khalid Jamil is back in the Indian Super League (ISL). The Indian head coach who successfully guided NorthEast United FC to the semi-finals in 2020-21 is back at the helm of an ISL team. 

This time it’s Jamshedpur FC. The Men of Steel are in a spot of bother sitting in tenth place in the table with just nine points from 12 matches. The poor run in the first half of the campaign saw the team part ways with Scott Cooper allowing Jamil a chance to showcase his qualities in the ISL again.

Jamil has already made an impact on the team guiding them to the semi-finals of the Kalinga Super Cup and the team looks in great shape ahead of the second half of the season.

Jamil caught up with for an exclusive interview and spoke about taking up the Jamshedpur FC job, his vision for the team, his coaching journey and more.

Here are the excerpts: 

Jamshedpur FC aren't in the strongest position in the ISL. What prompted you to take this job?

I am honoured that I was given this chance and it's a pleasure to be the head coach of Jamshedpur FC. It is always good to be back against (in the ISL). Now that I have got this chance, I want to make the most of it. My target is to do well, lead the team well and motivate the players. We want to start the second half of the season strongly.

What is the assessment of the Jamshedpur FC squad? What changes have you made since taking over?

The players are good. We have experienced as well as young Indian players. The foreigners are good too. It's a good mix. After joining I didn't say a lot of things. I wanted to keep things simple. I want the players to play their natural game. I have motivated the players and the results that we have got in the Kalinga Super Cup are down to the players we have. We need to have confidence and must play as a team. 

What are the challenges of taking over a team mid-season? You didn't get a pre-season and went straight into the Kalinga Super Cup. How did you tackle this situation?

I didn't have to make too many changes, to be honest. I have given everyone a chance and rotated the squad during the Kalinga Super Cup. I wanted to motivate everyone by showing them that anyone can get a chance to play. The second thing I told the team is not to take pressure. It's important to enjoy and play your natural game. 

Your first match in the ISL for Jamshedpur FC is against NorthEast United FC. What are your emotions about facing your former team and does it give you an advantage?

I don't look at it from the point of view that I was a former coach there. That doesn't change our preparations. They are a good team. We faced them and they played a good match. 

We go step by step and focus on ourselves. We usually don't try to change our preparations too much from opponent to opponent. 

How important is Daniel Chuma Chukwu for the team?

Yes, he is important. We missed him in the semi-final. He has a presence and is one of the best players in the ISL. 

You will be reuniting with Imran Khan at Jamshedpur FC. How does he fit into your plans?

Imran is a very good player. He is in a good place and one of our best players. He has more responsibility now because he is more mature. He now has to go to the next level. He is doing well in training and is fit. He will improve match by match. 

What are the characteristics do you want a team coached by you to have?

I want my players to give 100%. When I say give 100% I mean that the player should feel very confident about his strengths. The second is that you need to support teammates. First, you need to play your own game and then you need to help your teammates. These two things are fundamental to how I want my teams to play. 

What prompted you to be a coach? At what point did you feel you can succeed as a coach?

It happened naturally. I was a captain at Mumbai FC. But due to my injury, I couldn't play. The head coach at the time David Booth asked me to train the junior team. That's where I developed an interest in coaching. I got to coach the U-19 team and the very first day I loved the job. The very same year, I got the chance to coach the senior team at Mumbai FC. I had developed a lot of liking for coaching and I went on from there. 

Who influenced your coaching career the most?

As a player, I played under a lot of coaches. All of them influenced me. I learned a lot from Sukhwinder Singh who was my coach with the Indian national team. David Booth too supported me a lot during the latter part of my playing career.  I also learned a lot from the opponent coaches I faced in the I-League. I took something from all of them. A lot of the tactical knowledge I acquired from Wim Kovermans before my AFC Pro License. I can't say there is one favourite, I learned from all the coaches I have encountered as my coach and as my opponent. 

What is the target for you at Jamshedpur FC?

My target is the first match. We will see after that. We have to give a positive performance in this match. 

How much has ISL changed over the years?

Indian football has improved since ISL has come in. Indian players have gained confidence as the facilities provided are good. The players are satisfied with it and so there is improvement. If you see the Indian team, the results might not have been good in the AFC Asian Cup, but the performance was very good. After playing in the ISL for the last 4 to 5 years, the players are feeling more comfortable as they get to learn from the foreign players and coaches. 

The players know how to prepare for a match, and how to recover. All these things they have learnt in the last few years. Indian football has become fast. The players aren't scared any more to play open football.