Phelan to inject professionalism

Phelan to inject professionalism

Terry Phelan

Irishman Terry Phelan has donned many roles over the years. His search for fresh challenges has seen him work in the United States and New Zealand. Now, he has been in India for close to 10 years.

After being at the helm of the Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters and then Muthoot Football Academy, the former Manchester City defender has taken up the role of Technical Director at South United Football Club (SUFC), a Bengaluru-based football club, which plays in the Bangalore District Football Association’s Super Division League and the I-League Second Division.

The 52-year-old also does TV punditry on Serie A, La Liga, Champions League and other major international tournaments for Sony Network.

His job at SUFC will see him building a curriculum besides educating coaches, conceiving a style of play and overseeing the development of youth from underage to first-team. He will also provide insights to the first-team staff if they need any.

“My vision as head of the academy is to see if we get can some good young talented boys and girls into the academy, nurture them in the right way and give them the right education more than anything else,” said Phelan, highly impressed with the club’s infrastructure.

“If you talk about the club as a whole, the foundations they've built, it's different from last year. They've got field, light, gym and everything that a football club needs. That's what they have across the road. They've built a facility, which wasn't there last year, which will only enhance the first team and academy programmes.”

Phelan is realistic. He is fully aware of the expectations but is equally excited about the project. "I am not going to tell you that I am going to have players from the academy playing in the English Premier League (EPL) in the next 10 years,” he emphasised.

“I know that's a hard thing to do. Before that, I have got to get players up to the standards, which can play at a higher level than South United. Maybe in the ISL or beyond that. It’s a good pathway. I am going to bring in the element of professionalism.”

The tussle between India’s top two footballing leagues ISL and I-League has brought about a sense of uncertainty among players, which in turn is hurting the growth of the sport in the country. Phelan feels the best way to go about it is to have a unified league, stretched over a period of 9-10 months.

“I think it’s paramount that I-League and ISL sit down together, sort out their differences for the sake of Indian football. It’s good for the coach's education, player development. Stadiums and grounds will be full. The local community will be able to watch nine months of football instead of three” he suggested.