Mumbai: Subhas Bhowmick, on Tuesday, added another feather to his cap.
The 64-year-old Churchill Brothers technical director Bhowmick helmed the Goan side to their second I-League title and became the first coach to win the league for two different teams.
Under him, East Bengal had won the National Football League twice. For the record, he also coached East Bengal to the Asean Cup title, the only international tournament won by an Indian club.
With Tuesday’s victory, he also became the first coach from Bengal to win the title with an outstation side.
Yet, he said on Tuesday that winning the I-League title again was not a big deal. Instead he has set his sights on an AFC Cup triumph.
“Winning the I-League is a feeling of satisfaction for me, nothing beyond that,” Bhowmick told The Telegraph. “I am happy for being able to win the title with a bunch of relatively unknown faces… But my aim has always been bigger.
“My dream is to win the AFC Cup for an Indian club. Wish there was a club, which would give me enough resources, a free hand and two years to make an attempt to bring the AFC Cup home. That could be my last hurrah as coach. Thereafter, I can pack my bags and go home,” said Bhowmick.
But then, Bhowmick is sceptical. “Who will give me the freedom to build a side? I am an outcast in the eyes of All India Football Federation since I have no coaching degree. I am not even allowed to coach an I-League club. I am a burden for the clubs because anyone who takes me would have to appoint another licensed coach,” said Bhowmick.
The Churchill technical director gave credit to the players for winning the title. “Did anyone know about players like Sanjay Balmuchu, Naveen Sudhakaran, Bikramjit Singh or Saran Singh a few months back? If I am happy for being able to guide them in the right direction, they, too, showed tremendous improvement and responded to the challenge,” he said.
“Only I know how difficult it was,” added Bhowmick. “At one point in time, when our two foreign recruits — Bilal Najjarin and Akram Moghrabi — left,doubts crept in. To make it worse, Beto also got injured.
“But then, all of us worked together as a team to keep the flag flying high. I must mention that Sunil Chetri’s induction in the last phase also played a big role.
“When I won titles for East Bengal, they had established and experienced stars. Here, many of them were rookies under an uneducated coach.”
One couldn’t miss the sarcasm.“Yet they did it… I am absolutely proud of this bunch,” said Bhowmick.