Liverpool legend and former England striker Robbie Fowler has been named the head coach of Kolkata giants East Bengal. The red-and-gold brigade will be making its debut in the Indian Super League (ISL) - the country’s premier football tournament.
The Englishman joins the giants of Indian football from Brisbane Roar, an A-League side in Australia, where he spent the last season as the head coach.
“We have signed the contract last night (Thursday) and Robbie Fowler is expected to join the side directly in Goa within a week,” East Bengal’s principal owner Hari Mohan Bangur told PTI.
Having joined the Roars from Thailand’s Muangthong United, a team Fowler took over on an interim basis, the 45-year-old made a fine start to his stint in Australia and even won the ‘Manager Of the Month’ award in January and February.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the league to a halt in March, Fowler chose to return to England and subsequently stepped down from his role stating his unwillingness to stay away from his family.
Joining Fowler at East Bengal will be the former Indian football team captain and East Bengal great Renedy Singh, who has been roped in as the assistant coach.
Having started his coaching stint with FC Pune City in 2015, the former midfielder from Imphal, Manipur was last in-charge of the I-League football team NEROCA FC last season before the two chose to part ways.
Fowler and Reddy have been offered a two-year deal with an option to extend.
With the 2020-21 season of the ISL just a month away, East Bengal has assured that the priority will be to get a team rolling at the earliest with the Indian transfer still open.
“We are already short on preparation and will start with a handicap. So he will assemble the squad as early as possible in Goa. We will look to make a competitive side,” Bangur said.
With Mohun Bagan joining forces with reigning champions ATK and East Bengal being roped in, the 2020-21 season of the ISL will be an 11-team affair and will be played in Goa. Teams, like the Indian Premier League in UAE, will be inside a bio-bubble.
Robbie Fowler: a bonafide Liverpool legend
A native of the city, Fowler will be forever revered by Liverpool supporters for his goalscoring exploits with the Anfield club.
Although brought up an Everton supporter, Fowler came through the youth ranks at Liverpool before scoring 183 goals in 369 appearances during two spells at the club.
Fowler also played at English Premier League clubs Leeds United and Manchester City.