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East Bengal appoint Robbie Fowler as head coach, to play ISL as SCEB

Sayan Mukherjee

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Robbie Fowler East Bengal1

Kolkata: East Bengal announced Robbie Fowler as head coach after their entry into the top-tier Indian Super League (ISL) was confirmed by their investors Shree Cement Limited.

Former India international Renedy Singh was named Fowler’s Indian assistant coach. Renedy was assistant to David Platt at the now defunct FC Pune City in 2015 and briefly managed I-League side NEROCA FC in 2019.

Fowler, appointed for two years, is also expected to bring his coaching team including a physio, an analyst, a goalkeeping coach among others.

“We are happy to appoint the legendary Robbie Fowler as the Head Coach for the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season.It is a two year contract as of now but we hope to have a long,fruitfuland trophy laden collaboration. Robbie comes in with a wealth of experience having played with and against the best.” Shree Cement MD HM Bangur said.

“Besides Robbie, we have appointed seven foreign coaches who have top level coaching experience.We hope our coaching staff will not only help the club achieve success but also the league as a whole.” he added.

The famed club, founded in 1920 and celebrating its centenary, secured financial might to play the ISL after Shree Cement Ltd acquired majority stake of the club. They floated a company named Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation and submitted bid papers seeking entry into the league.

Soon after ISL organisers Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL) announced East Bengal as the 2020-21 ISL’s 11th participating team, the club confirmed the services of Fowler. Bangur further revealed that the team will be known as SC East Bengal.

“It could be Sporting Club East Bengal or Shree Cement East Bengal as per your interpretation. We as a corporate group cannot prefix ‘Shree Cement’ to East Bengal so we have decided the team as ‘SCEB,” Bangur revealed.

Several heavyweight names including former Argentina boss Jose Pekerman and ex-England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson alongside Fowler swirled in the air preceding the announcement.

Liverpool great Fowler took his first steps in management as a player-coach in 2011-12 with Thailand’s Muangthong United. His next stint in the dugout was with A-League side Brisbane Roar last season.

East Bengal complete move to ISL

In his decorated nearly two decade playing career, the 45-year-old appeared in over 250 matches for Liverpool across two stints, netting 183 goals and also turned out for for Leeds United and Manchester City.

EB had earlier appointed Francisco Bruto Da Costa as their head coach and it was immediately unclear what would be the fate of the former NorthEast United FC assistant. The club is yet to announce their full squad and preparation plans.

The tournament’s seventh edition is likely to begin in November or December in a bio-secure environment in Goa. Fixtures are yet to be announced though several teams reached Goa on Saturday and have started quarantining.

Matches will be played behind closed doors at three venues – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda; GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim; and Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco.

The coaching team for East Bengal: Head coach: Robbie Fowler, Assistant: Anthony Grant, Set piece coach: Terence McPhillips, Goalkeeping coach: Robert Mimms, Sports Scientist: Jack Inman, Physio: Michael Harding, Analyst: Joseph Walmsley, Indian Assistant Coach: Renedy Singh

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Sayan Mukherjee is the Content Head at Sports Lounge. He has over 10 years of experience in sports journalism (print and digital) having worked for some of the leading media organisations in the country including The Statesman, The Asian Age, IANS and Sports Illustrated.