Hyderabad finished at the bottom of the table in their first season ISL but they’ll be a different side next year.
With 10 points and two wins from 18 matches, Hyderabad FC only just managed to prevent the label of being the worst team in the history of Indian Super League (ISL).
In their first season in ISL, Hyderabad fought right from the off under English coach Phil Brown but the challenges weren’t only on the field.
Co-owner Varun Tripuraneni mentioned a lack of time before the season kicked off among the important reasons for the group’s struggle.
He explained,”We ended at the base and that is the reality, we must accept it. We just need to take the positives and push ahead. I’ve been involved at the ISL because 2014 and last season would definitely rank as the toughest season only because we’d only about 60 days for the first game we played in Kolkata. The lack of time to prepare did not help.
“Phil (Brown) was very supportive throughout, we did our best to find the season up and running in a very brief period of time. We were unfortunate in a few matches and had a whole lot of injuries. Rafa’s (Lopez) harm and the Nestor’s (Gordillo) ban did not help us.
“We used external agencies and worked to get the stadium ready for the first game, which I believe was a massive positive. It has been challenging.”
The series of poor results ultimately resulted in the departure of head coach Brown. But there was a twist in the tale. The team announced the signing of Albert Roca as the head coach for next season. There was a nod at the backroom team and Roca’s staff took over. In a jiffy, Hyderabad substituted Brown’s direct strategy with Roca’s fluid soccer which will take the time to come to life.
Explaining the mid-season change, Varun said, “Phil tried his best in the situation but it came to a point where we felt we needed a change. We had someone who has experience of working in India.
“We are also seeking to build a squad for the future. It’s sometimes not easy to pull players when you’re a new team with plenty of uncertainties, we’re also bottom of this table. So Albert’s profile is crucial. We had a long, positive discussion once we met to discuss the project. We’ve signed a two-year contract and are hopeful of a successful season.”
Hyderabad have already made a few moves together with another season in mind. Roca will want to shape his squad based on his style of play. The Nizams have roped in defender Souvik Chakrabarti and midfielder Liston Colaco.
“After we made the change in the coaching staff, Albert has been involved in a day to day basis. The concept of having him begin early was to prepare and plan for next season. The signings of Souvik, Liston were triggered by the arrival of Albert, (they’re ) the sort of players we’re looking at. Albert has been quite clear and very hands-on in regards to the signing of players,” the former Kerala Blasters CEO explained.
With childhood development programs also in the pipeline, he added,”Adil (Khan) signed a long term contract, Souvik includes experience, we have really good exciting youngsters like Asish Rai, Mohammed Yasir, Abhishek Halder who also has committed long-term with the club.
“Hyderabad is an excellent market. The participation levels in schools are really significant. We’re looking forward to using the present soccer culture and converting them into a purposeful fanbase. Right now, we’re just looking to get the fundamentals right.”