Soccer craze in Kolkata just like EPL, says Darby

July 26th, 2011 - 1:01 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 25 (IANS) Mohun Bagan’s new soccer chief coach Steve Darby, who is set to take over reins of the club from July 27, Monday compared the soccer craze in the metropolis to that back home during the English Premier League.

“It is just like the EPL,” the 56 year old coach said when asked to compare the atmosphere here with that in England, as Bagan members and supporters gave him a rousing reception.

Darby, who got his UEFA coaching licence in 1979, said he considered it an “inteleigent” move on his part to come to India for the job. “Indian soccer is on the rise. And from FIFA to Asian Football Confederation, everyone’s eyes are now on India. So I think it makes sense to come here.

Before coming to the city, Darby watched India’s match against Thailand.

“I have seen all those players who took part in that match. And I know Sunil Chhetri is a fine recruit for the club. I only have to see the fringe players,” he said.

Darby, however, said it was mostly upto the players to change the fortunes of the club, which did poorly last season. “I don’t think Steve Darby can change anything. It’s the players who can change it.”

He became an official FIFA instructor for the Oceania region in 1981 and AFC instructor in 1988. He was national development manager for the Australian Soccer Fedeation between 1990 and 1995.

During his 16 year club coaching career, Darby has occupied the hot seat for Australia’s Sydney Olympic, Malaysia’s Johor FA and Perac FA. He guided Johor to the Malyasia FA Cup.

He has also served as coach of Singapore’s Home United FC, besides coaching the Vietnamese women’s team to a gold medal in the South East Association Games.

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