Khalid's Silence Played A Crucial Role in His Coaching Career

Tuesday, 2 May 2017|Mohammad Amin-ul Islam
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Syed Nayeemuddin always loved to stay at Hotel Bombay Orient, opposite to Karims in Old Delhi.

Even when he was the national team coach, the Hyderabadi preferred no-star accommodation to the five-stars because he loved the food at the Karims.

Nayeem was in Delhi to watch the 1997 Durand Cup and pick few players for the Kathmandu SAFF Cup.

It was at the Hotel Bombay Orient that I had met a rookie Mahindra United midfielder Khalid Jamil, who maintained a calm demeanour at the table as the Dronacharya spoke to him on his mistakes in one of the Durand matches.

“Aisa khel. Focus kar,” Nayeem told a young Khalid.

The Kuwait-born player nodded his head — his talent and shyness probably attracted the former coach to include him for the Kathmandu-bound squad.

“Doodh pio. Bina shehat ke footballer nahin ban sakte (Drink milk. Without a good physique, you can’t become a strong footballer),” added the Hyderabadi.   

Nayeem knew Khalid had the talent to become an effective midfielder. His height was an advantage, and if he would develop his physique, he will be difficult to beat in the middle.

After a couple of good seasons with Mahindra, Air India and the national team, Khalid’s recurring knee injuries him to cut short his international career in 2004.

He continued to play in the domestic league and played for Mumbai FC in their first season, where they finished sixth in the 2009 I-League, but injuries troubled him.

It was then the team’s head coach David Booth put Khalid in charge of Mumbai’s Under-19 side which won the title.

That was the start of a marvellous journey as a coach and today the 40-year-old is one of the best young coaches in the country.

His success as Aizawl FC head coach on Sunday would go down as one of the amazing feats scripted in Indian football.

Whatever little conversations we had during his formative years two decades ago, I found him one of the quietest among the Indian players.

Some writers compared him with Nayeem as someone who maintains a stoic silence, but his silence played a crucial role in his coaching career when he managed Mumbai FC for seven years on a shoe-string budget.

Khalid never complained neither left the ship like any other top professional coach would do. 

He hanged around there before taking up the job at the North-East club this season. Those seven years, in fact, was the beginning of his impressive coaching career. 

Way to go, Khalid.