Shillong, Jul 25: Bobby Nongbet, after having been conferred with the Youth Coach of the Year Award by the Association of Indian Football Coaches (AIFC) at a function in Mumbai yesterday evening, feels he will be under more pressure now to deliver results and could be persuaded to coach outside Meghalaya, though he hasn’t received an offer that is appealing enough yet.
The award comes a couple of months after the Nongbet-coached Shillong Lajong FC won their first ever U-18 Youth League title, a triumph that the experienced gaffer later described as the “sweetest of all”.
The awards night followed the two-day Indian Football Coaches Convention, which was organised by the AIFC and All India Football Federation (AIFF) at the DY Patil University in Navi Mumbai. The AIFC was formed in December last year.
“I would like to thank the AIFC and AIFF for this award. This initiative certainly will lift the spirit and motivation of the coaches of the country to work harder. It serves as good recognition for the efforts put by the club in working with the youth,” Nongbet was quoted as saying in a Lajong press release today.
He then went on to dedicate the award to his technical support – Aibok Kharpran and Milan Nongkhlaw – and thanked Lajong fans, club management and Managing Director Larsing Ming Sawyan.
Nongbet was back in Shillong today and TSR saw him down in Polo Ground as he is also coaching First Division side Rising FC, who were involved in a game against Laban.
After the game he was frank in admitting that awards like these will put him under more pressure to deliver results.
“Winning the U-18 Youth League and getting the recognition that comes with this award will mean more pressure,” Nongbet said.
Despite the acclaim for his coaching skills, the gaffer is not at all interested in moving to coach senior teams.
“The senior level is very competitive and success-oriented. You have to have a plan that can work immediately. The youth level is all about patience and long-term development. I never wanted to coach at the senior level and still don’t,” he said.
One downside, though, is in seeing some talented youngsters not make it at the senior level, with Nongbet saying, “It’s sick to the bones if youth players do not make it to the senior level after 17 or 18. After all the struggle of preparing them, some don’t make it. Some get diverted to other things while some change their lifestyles or interests. It’s frustrating to see that happen.”
And lastly, when asked whether he could be tempted away by another club or academy to leave Shillong, he said that he has received some offers, but none of these were appealing enough.
Well, maybe now he will get some!
* A quote in this story has been edited since its original publication after Nongbet issued a clarification
(Photos contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)