regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Restraint advice for Robbie Fowler

SC East Bengal coach's critical analysis of some of the Indian players hasn’t gone down well with the football fraternity in the country

Arindam Bandyopadhyay Calcutta Published 03.12.20, 03:11 AM
Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler File picture

SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler’s critical analysis of some of the Indian players after their second loss in as many matches in the ISL hasn’t gone down well with the football fraternity in the country.

The former Liverpool star after their 0-3 loss to Mumbai City FC on Tuesday had remarked, “we will try to make our players better, we will try to make our Indian players better… A few of them have probably never been coached before.”


Former India player and one of the most successful Indian coaches in recent times, Subhas Bhowmick, believes Fowler’s observation is unbecoming of a coach. “Fowler has every right to be upset with the performance of his team. He can say whatever he wants to his players but that should be inside the dressing room or during training sessions. You cannot criticise your players publicly. I think it is against the ethics of coaching.

“If you ask me to name the top-six goal-poachers of the world, I would keep Fowler in the list. But as a coach he is inexperienced. And that is why he made those observations,” Bhowmick, under whose coaching East Bengal won the Asean Cup in 2003, told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

The former East Bengal coach also fears that his outburst may cost Fowler the respect of the players. “How can you only criticise Indian players. What about the foreigners? What have they done? If you say something against the players, why would they respect you? A coach has to stand by his players,” Bhowmick said.

He feels this will be a testing moment for the coach too, since a good coach should be capable of working out a turnaround strategy for the team.

“Nobody thinks that this East Bengal team would fight for the championship in their very first year in the ISL. Take your time, set the team… First secure one point then try to win the match,” Bhowmick said.

Former India player and current chairman of All India Football Federation’s technical committee, Shyam Thapa, displayed sympathy with Fowler’s observations.

“The club recruited Indian players but then it was not clear whether they would play in the ISL or in the I-League. The standard of the two leagues are different. He has not criticised all the Indian players playing in the league. Maybe he believes a few Indian players of his team are not good enough to play in the ISL,” Thapa said.

“Fowler is not a very successful coach and he started functioning late. So we need to give him time. I believe after a few more matches this team would definitely play better,” Thapa added.

For the record, most of the Indian players were recruited by East Bengal and SC East Bengal merely absorbed them. The new management has recruited only the foreign players besides a handful of Indians.

Former India and East Bengal player Alvito D’Cunha, who helped the club recruit the Indian players, appeared distressed with Fowler's comments. “We should be thankful to all the Indian players who signed for the club earlier without knowing whether the team will play in the I-League or the ISL. If the coach becomes so critical, it would definitely put the players under a lot of pressure. The team is not playing well, we should stand by the team as we all want East Bengal to do well,” Alvito said.

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