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Punjab FC coach from iconic restaurant family

Scion rustles up football fare

By Angshuman Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 8.11.19, 2:52 AM
  • Updated 8.11.19, 2:52 AM
  • 2 mins read
Yan Law Telegraph Picture

For those who were born and lived in South Calcutta in the 70s and 80s, Kim Wah was a part of their growing up years.

A cosy little Chinese restaurant on Garcha Road near Ballygunge Phari famous for its authentic fare, it was the place to be for a family outing. The eatery, owned by Law Chong Hock, closed shop more than a decade ago, but somebody from that family is making news these days.

Meet 26-year-old Yan Law, India’s youngest “A licence” coach and also I-League’s, who sits in the Punjab Football Club — erstwhile Minerva Punjab Football Club — dug-out, chalking up strategies and giving instructions to the players.

“The previous coach, Sachin Badadhe, before joining Bengaluru FC’s residential set-up in Bellary, told (Punjab FC boss) Ranjit Bajaj about me. The club was looking for a coach. There were some other people also who recommended my name. So that’s how I landed in Chandigarh. For the first seven days I got acclimatised with the new set-up and joined the club as head coach,” Law told The Telegraph from Chandigarh on Thursday.

Five months into the job, Law is excited about the new assignment. “We have a great group. It’s a good mix of youth and experience. Our pre-season has been great and now I can’t wait for the I-League to begin,” Law said.

Law was lured into the game by his dad Thien, who played first division football. Law represented India at the under-19 level between 2008-10 when Colin Toal was the All India Football Federation’s youth development head. “Ours was the first developmental batch which had Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC), Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC), Lalrindika Ralte (East Bengal), Shouvik Ghosh (North East United FC), to name a few. When the Pailan Arrows started I pulled out since I was more interested in getting match-time. That’s why I joined George Telegraph,” he said.

“Then around 2012-13, the coaching licence thing happened. Joydeep Mukherjee (then IFA assistant secretary), who knew my father, wanted both of us to the course. Our family runs an NGO called Calcutta Social Project of which football is a very important part. My father was imparting coaching in the evening and I was helping him out. So when the D-Licence course was being conducted both of us did it.”

Law says his young age is not a hindrance. “All the players are professionals, so they know they have to take the coach seriously. Also Ranjit Bajaj is there guiding me,” he said.

An alumnus of La Martiniere for Boys — he cleared the ISC exams in 2012 — Law is a big fan of Pep Guardiola and Juergen Klopp. “Right now they are the best in the world. I also like Maurizio Sarri’s set-piece formations. And then there is Marcelo Bielsa. His methodology is simply out of the world,” he said.

So when is he planning to come to Calcutta? “In February, Punjab FC will be playing two back-to-back matches against East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. That’s the time I will be in Calcutta.”

Will he serve some Chinese dishes to his players? “That’s the incentive I will offer if they log six points from those two matches.”