Kolkata, Oct 24 (IANS) Newbies Hyderabad FC, who will make their debut in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Friday when they take on ATK here, have to build their identity and play the right kind of football to enhance the brand of the league, feels head coach Phil Brown.
Hyderabad FC are a new addition to the ISL and have replaced FC Pune City who have shut shop.
The team, co-owned by Vijay Madduri and Varun Tripuraneni, will be the latest entrant to the ISL roster.
The team will be the first ISL club from Hyderabad — a city which boasts a rich footballing heritage and was considered the nucleus of Indian football back in the 50s and 60s.
“When you’re a new franchise going into a new league, I think we have a responsibility to play the right kind of football to enhance ISL’s brand. There are 10 franchises in ISL. But we have no identity yet. We have to get that identity. We have 4 games in 11-12 days and everyone will have an identity by then,” Englishman Brown said at the pre-match press conference.
“We need to understand us a little bit better. We have to win over the hearts, the minds nd the eyes of the players of Hyderabad. We need to bring excitement to fill the stadiums and bring fans to watch us. ISL has to be a world-knowing brand from now on. The outside influence of ISL from outside India is an important part. We have a big part to play this season and hopefully, that starts tomorrow,” said the 60-year-old who played over 200 games for Bolton Wanderers.
Brown hoped the game on Friday draws as many spectators as the India-Bangladesh World Cup qualifier did at the colossal Salt Lake Stadium.
“I was very fortunate to be here for India’s game against Bangladesh. It was a fantastic atmosphere. I hope for a similar atmosphere tomorrow. If we get that, I’ll understand my players a little bit more.
“We have to learn to play under pressure. It’s a fantastic first game for a new franchise in Hyderabad. Kolkata is a fantastic city and coming to visit a team that is historically successful. My big focus is on improving Hyderabad and the players we have.”
On Nestor Gordillo not being available till December, the coach said: “At this moment, we’re waiting on an appeal to the AIFF about reducing Nestor’s ban. It’s sad that he can’t play at the moment. He’ll be an asset to the ISL.”
The team has the likes of India centre-back Adil Khan and midfielder Nikhil Poojary in their ranks besides proven ISL foreign stars like Marcelo Pereira and Marko Stankovic.
“I’ve brought in over half of the Indian players with me from FC Pune City and two foreigners in Marcelinho and Marko Stankovic,” the coach said of his players.
“Marko has a great mentality and understanding of the Indian game. Marcelinho is the kind of player who can win games of football anywhere they play. We’ve brought in new players from FC Pune city academy and other teams. There’s a difference from last season in Indian and foreign perspectives,” he added.