AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
Adil Khan stood out for FC Pune City and Goa in Indian Super league (ISL) 4 for the number of goals and his style in scoring, his assists and ability to fill in the blanks all over the field. Adil started ISL 5 with a stutter that led into a stammer and the flow followed only after the appointment of Phil Brown as coach.
“It was a frustrating start to the season. Our pre-season training was bad and there was a communication gap between us and Spanish coach Miguel Portugal. Portugal wanted us to play possession football and the team had players not suited for that style. So, we started with frustration and it was evident right through the first session of the tournament,” is how Adil explained the initial start of FC Pune City.
“Marcelinho is a player who would like to go forward taking along with him three or four opponents. With Miguel, we spent more time trying to keep possession and that was against the style of play of most players,” explained Adil.
Adil ended ISL 4 as the highest goal scorer from Goa. Midway through ISL 5, he had not started scoring and hardly got little time to play. He and his team FC Pune City found rhythm in the second half and came within sights of qualifying for the semifinals.
“Players and a coach need to understand each other. A player needs to know to give up something for the coach in order to get something back. There needs to be a give and take and that was evident once Pradhyum Reddy took over. Coach Pradhyum knew what I could do and he gave me the freedom to express myself and that signalled the beginning of another style of play,” opined Adil, explaining the changes in his game in the second half of the season.
“The third past was when English coach Phil Brown was appointed. I found him to be a coach who could understand his players and it was that understanding that left all of us on another tune. We enjoyed playing under him and came close to qualifying for the semifinals. Had it not been for two results that went against us, we would have been in the reckoning of winning the tournament,” avers Adil.
“Phil allowed us to play freely. He started giving us the freedom to play and that made a big difference to the standard of football played by us. I agree I started badly. I was even hurt because I was not selected to play in Goa. It is every player’s dream to play in front of his home crowd. In the end, football is about giving one’s best when given the chance and I think I gave mine when I had the opportunity,” explained Adil when asked if it did not hurt when he was left out of FC Pune City’s starting eleven in their match in Goa.
“When you win your coach’s confidence, it is part of winning the battle,” explains Adil whilst detailing a relationship between a coach and player.
“Indian coaches are not too far behind foreign coaches. Foreign coaches have more experience when it comes to substituting players during a game. But that does not mean that we should not give Indian coaches a chance. They deserve a chance,” said Adil whilst explaining the role of foreign coaches vis a vis Indian coaches.
Adil is a player who fits well in the defence, in the midfield and up front; scoring goals has started coming naturally to him. He brings fluidity to the flow of a game and has used his head to score a number of times in ISL.
“I think I am what I am today because of my Sesa Football Academy coach Vishwas Gaonkar. He made me a player. I am what I am today because of him and yes, I am still in touch with him. We communicate with each other,” claims Adil.
“There were rumours that FC Pune City would be merging with Mumbai City FC. That is not true anymore. We are ready to go as FC Pune City and believe me we are ready to win ISL 6,” concluded Adil.