Jamshedpur FC won the much-coveted Indian Super League (ISL) League Winners’ Shield on Monday, following a 1-0 victory over ATK Mohun Bagan in the league stage’s final game. Jamshedpur FC has added another feather to its illustrious crown.
It was also a special evening for the man who brought Jamshedpur their finest hour – Owen Coyle. In many ways, the 55-year-old manager had accomplished an incredible feat.
His team had comprehensively outplayed clubs who had outspent them comfortably. Jamshedpur FC had finished the league stage at the top of the table with 39 points from 18 matches.
They were unbeaten in their last 10 league games, winning nine of them.
It is a testament to Coyle’s managerial skills that he has managed to get the best out of his players despite the club having a small budget relatively.
Owen Coyle has added another feather to his impressive cap already. He is the only manager in the history of Indian football to have won the League Winners’ Shield with two different clubs.
He had earlier led FC Goa to the title in the 2017-18 season.
It is a remarkable achievement and one that Coyle would cherish
Some of the credit for the club’s success must also go to the chairman, Toswiraj Singh. He has been very supportive of Coyle and has given him the necessary backing to build a strong team.
The winning team – Jamshedpur FC
It wasn’t a fluke or an exceptional year. Owen Coyle has proven time and again that he has the ability to inspire teams from the moment he arrived in India. What he accomplished with a Chennaiyin FC team that was mired in last place after six matches into the 2019-20 season is etched in history for all to see.
Owen Coyle was handed a team in which he had no influence, and he pulled off the impossible by leading the Marina Machans all the way to the ISL final. He spent last season in Jamshedpur, where things were rather similar. Jamshedpur narrowly missed out on qualifying for the play-offs and ended up sixth.
One may be tempted to claim he had pulled another rabbit out of the hat now that we’re in the present. But it was no magic trick. With some clever squad building and managerial selections, the great strategist methodically climbed his way up to the top.
Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, have been a very entertaining watch while also being solid in defense. It may not be Coyle’s style of play, but he has proven that attacking fluidity is not only about having the ball all of the time.
The Scot deserves all the plaudits that are coming his way and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the next season with a full pre-season under his belt. With the squad he has, there is no reason why Jamshedpur can’t mount a serious title challenge and win their maiden ISL trophy.
The steps Owen Coyle took towards JFC’s ISL championship
1) Continued with the strong players from last season.
Despite failing to qualify for the play-offs last season under Owen Coyle, there were encouraging indicators. The team had mostly played well and came up short in just a few matches. There were several players who excelled, especially among the foreign contingent. Owen Coyle has faith in them, so he decided to keep his trust in them.
The experienced defenders Steve Baines and Paul Devlin were not required. The strong centre-back Peter Hartley was retained, as was the diligent midfielder Alex Lima. Nerijus Valskis, as well as a number of Indian players including Narender Gahlot, Jitendra Singh, Boris Singh, TP Rehenesh, etc
It was a move that has paid off rich dividends.
2) Made a few smart signings
Owen Coyle also made some astute signings in the summer transfer window. He roped in Tim Cahill, who is not only an iconic player but also brings with him bags of experience. Australian midfielder Michael Soosairaj was also signed up. He has proved to be a livewire in the attacking third, scoring crucial goals and assisting others as well. Indian attackers Sumeet Passi and Farukh Choudhary have also chipped in with goals.
3) Instilled discipline and a winning mentality
From the start, Owen Coyle set the tone by insisting on discipline and a winning mentality. There have been few reports of indiscipline within the squad and the players have mostly bought into Coyle’s philosophy. This was evident in their performances on the pitch. They were clinical in their finishing and defended resolutely as a team.
4) Made use of his contacts
Owen Coyle also made use of his vast network of contacts in the football world. He roped in top European coaches like John van’t Schip and Dan Petrescu to work with him at Jamshedpur FC. This has helped the team learn from some of the best minds in the business and improve their game.
5) Focused on youth development
Coyle has also placed a lot of emphasis on youth development. He has set up an academy in Jamshedpur and is giving youngsters a chance to showcase their talent. Several players from the academy have already been inducted into the first-team squad and this will only help in the long run.
In conclusion, Owen Coyle can be credited with masterminding Jamshedpur FC’s successful campaign in the ISL League Winners’ Shield. He has been able to get the best out of his players and has also made some shrewd signings. His focus on youth development will help the team in the long run. All in all, it has been a season to remember for Jamshedpur FC and Coyle deserves a lot of credit for it.
Coyle also decided to blood in some new, young players in the side. The likes of Mohammad Sajid Dhot and Aniket Jadhav, both of whom are products of the Tata Football Academy (TFA), were given their chances in the first team.
Dhot has been a revelation since making his debut in the opening game of the season. The 20-year-old striker already has four goals to his name and has formed a lethal partnership with Sumeet Passi.
Jadhav, on the other hand, has been used as a utility player by Coyle and has shown great promise in that role. He has been used in defence, midfield and even as a striker at times.