Trevor Morgan, the Perth-based English coach of East Bengal club last season, is back in India for one month as head coach and paid to work on fitness of players signed up by IMG-Reliance for the new franchise-based tournament scheduled in January next year.
He had cited family commitments as the reason for leaving Kolkata. After completing the first training session at the Cooperage on Monday, the former I-League coach said: 'Footballers are self-employed. When they come in, they have to train hard. It is going to be a long season and this is the first step. We will work on stamina and avoiding injury this week. Injury prevention is very important.'
Asked whether pre-season preparation starting in August for an event five months later (January-March 2014) wasn’t too long, Morgan replied: 'The training is for the event in January. I do believe these players are going on loan to I-League clubs before that tournament. They need to attain a certain level of fitness by then.'
Concerns about I-League
Responding to concerns about the I-League losing appeal, competing for attention against a star-studded event, he said: 'You cannot run a programme down before it starts. It could be the best thing to have happened to the I-League, it might not. Who knows?'
He is excited about famous players coming to India. 'The plans are in place, it is fantastic the people (stars) they are trying to bring in and to spread the game right across India. To be able to watch players you get to see only on television would be a great opportunity for fans across India.'
Morgan is convinced about the fan following for football in India. 'Before I came to India, I had no idea of what football was like here. Now after seeing the crowds for East Bengal versus Mohun Bagan in Kolkata, I realise football is huge here.'
The former I-League coach is tasked with conditioning at the camp, working with the group under him at the Cooperage.