New Delhi:India captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Thursday threw his weight behind the I-League coaches, who risk losing job for not possessing AFC-A licence certificate, saying they should be given time to earn the degrees. "It is important to have a licence but degrees alone don't make a good coach," Indian football's pin-up boy said.
Bhutia's comments came after the the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) turned down All India Football Federation's (AIFF) request to allow coaches who do not possess AFC-A licence certificate to continue their club duty.
As many as eight coaches, including three foreigners, do not possess the required qualification and the list includes Karim Bencherifa (Mohun Bagan), Shabbir Ali (Mohammedan Sporting), Subroto Bhattacharya (Chirag United), Bimal Ghosh (Air India), David Booth (Mahindra United), Elvis Goes (Vasco), Zoran Djordjevic (Churchill Brothers) and Sukhwinder Singh (JCT).
East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick also falls in the same category but was omitted since he wasn't handling the club then when AIFF had sent the request.
Bhutia said the federation must give time to the coaches to earn the necessary degrees.
"Coaches must be given one or two years to get them equipped. The federation must support them in this endeavour," said the mercurial forward," he said.
"I have approached the IFA and in turn the AIFF. I am still waiting for their response. But whatever decision is taken hope it is good and the issue gets sorted out quickly," he said.
Bhutia recalled his playing days in England where most of the coaches were Football Association degree holders but felt the scenario was different here.
"Ours is a different situation. When they started coaching, they did not need degrees. And now they are past their age. So it's a bit unfair on them as the decision comes all of a sudden. But license alone does not guarantee success," said Bhutia, who described his joining of East Bengal from Mohun Bagan as his homecoming.
"I started my career there and wish to finish it there itself," said the Sikkimese sniper.
Talking about the India camp in Dubai and Barcelona, Bhutia felt it would be a good workout for the players. "Training in Barcelona would be great. We will get to use world class facilities there, something which we don't get here," said Bhutia, echoing India coach Bob Houghton who criticised the government recently for not focusing on infrastructure for the development of football.
"That has been a problem in India, we have neither good infrastructure nor proper grounds for training," said Bhutia.