In the wake of a challenging campaign last season, NorthEast United FC are resolute in making a strong comeback from their prior performance.

Owner John Abraham is equally determined to steer the club in the right direction. To achieve this goal, the club has been actively engaged in off-field preparations at the start of the season. One notable move was the appointment of the experienced Mandar Tamhane as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the club.

In an interview with the club's media team, Abraham delves into the reasons behind Tamhane's appointment and how his role will benefit the club. 

“Mandar comes with a wealth of information, with a wealth of experience managing the Indian football team for five years, working with Bengaluru FC before that for ten years. He brings in a lot of experience into my head when he came here. So I am more relieved and happy to have Mandar on board,” Abraham said in an interaction with NorthEast United FC media.

The Bollywood actor also noted that he, along with Tamhane, held discussions with Meghalaya's Minister, Conrad Sangma, to outline their shared vision of transforming NorthEast into a football hub. Their joint initiative includes plans to establish an academy in the region, designed to provide young talents with top-tier facilities to nurture and develop their skills.

“My vision has always been and will always be to make NorthEast the epicentre of football training and football in the country. I want NorthEast to be the main focus of anything that has to do with football in this country. For that, we met the Honourable Chief Minister of Megale, Mr. Conrad Sangma. We are very happy to say that we're working towards a plan to create an academy, which we believe is going to be a centre of excellence for anybody who's aspiring to play for India,” he stated.

“We're really hoping our plans are big; they're grand, and they're very ambitious. And today, when I took Mandar for the meeting, he was more than happy. I said you heard it from the horse's mouth, Mandar. Because when we had the meeting with the Honourable Chief Minister Meghalaya, he saw the plans really roll out in front of him. And the timing is so right because all these plans have come in and Mandar has come in. So, we're setting everything together, and I see a very bright future for Northeast United FC and for football in the region,” he added.

Abraham believes they are building something new and that they need the support of the fans on this journey. He urges the Highlanders to support their team through thick and thin. He wants them to come in large numbers and motivate the team to persevere in times of difficulty.

He said, “This is an entirely new Northeast United FC. Please come support us. I respect fans because I believe that football is made and football clubs are made because of fans. I have a lot of respect for them. I would want them to come in droves, thousands, and lakhs to come and support Northeast United FC. Not only when we're winning, but even sometimes when we're losing. So I just hope that they all turn up there, and I hope they understand that.

"I personally speak for myself; I personally put my blood, sweat, energy, and money into this team to make it special. And I have a dream. And that dream is to see the steam on top. And the steam will be on top very soon,” Abraham concluded.

Watch the interview here: