the purpose of clubs (2016)

the purpose of clubs (2016)

Brdaric’s journey into the unknown: “Such a step can only be taken out of complete conviction”the purpose of clubs (2016)

“Where old stars entertain 1.3 billion clueless people” was the headline of an article on the launch of theIndian Super League in German newspaper Welt in the summer of 2014. There was a lot of scepticism outside India about the then newly launched franchise league. After all, the plan resembled similar predecessor projects that often quickly disappeared into insignificance after a lot of hype and the fading glamour of ageing world stars were intended to artificially stir up enthusiasm for the sport of football. Back then, long past the peaks of their careers, top stars such as Roberto Carlos, David Trézéguet, Alessandro Nesta,Freddie Ljungberg andNicolas Anelka arrived in the republic with its 24 official languages and thus ensured, at least temporarily, the desired effect of an increase in attention for the national league beyond India’s borders.

Del Piero, Ljungberg, Riise & Co. – These stars played in the Indian Super League Alessandro Nesta | 2014/15 | Chennaiyin FC &copyimago images


Asamoah Gyan | 2019/20 | NorthEast Utd. &copyDHA


Kwesi Appiah | 2020/21 | NorthEast Utd. &copyimago images


Marco Materazzi | 2014 to 2016 | Chennaiyin FC &copyGetty Images


Mikaël Silvestre | 2014/15 | Chennaiyin FC &copyimago images


Robert Pirès | 2014/15 | FC Goa &copyISL Media


Alessandro Del Piero | 2014/15 | Delhi Dynamos &copyimago images


David Trézéguet | 2014/15 | Pune City &copyimago images


Manuel Friedrich | 2014/15 | Mumbai City &copyimago images


Freddie Ljungberg | 2014/15 | Mumbai City &copyimago images


Nicolas Anelka | 2014/15 and 2015/16 | Mumbai City &copyimago images


Hélder Postiga | 2015/16 and 2016/17 | Atl. Kolkata &copyFC Porto


Elano | 2014/15 and 2015/16 | Chennaiyin FC &copyimago images


Florent Malouda | 2015/16 und 2016/17 | Delhi Dynamos &copyimago images


John Arne Riise | 2015/16 Delhi Dynamos | 2016/17 Chennaiyin FC &copyimago images


Roberto Carlos | 2015/16 | Delhi Dynamos &copyimago images


Adrian Mutu |2015/16 | Pune City &copyTM/imago images


Boubacar Sanogo | 2015/16 | NorthEast Utd. &copyimago images


Robbie Keane | 2017/18 | ATK &copyTM/imago images


Wes Brown | 2017/18 | Kerala Blasters &copyimago images


Dimitar Berbatov | 2017/18 | Kerala Blasters &copyimago images


Tim Cahill | 2018/19 | Jamshedpur FC &copyimago images


Eight years later, there is as little left of foreign stars as there is of the hype that came with them – and some critics at least see this as a confirmation. The fact that the project has nevertheless borne fruit and significantly advanced Indian football in recent years is a different matter and is now beyond question. Also thanks to the Super League, thenational team has made the next step into the top 20 of Asian football, while in the FIFA world rankingsthey had moved back into the top 100 temporarily. The reigning South Asian champions are currently ranked 106th and ambitious head coachIgor Stimac wants to fill the gap and make India a leading force on the football continent alongside rivals such as Japan, Australia,South Korea and Iran.

Staff Igor Stimac I. Stimac Age: 54 All seasons –
All competitions Games 119 Won 35 Draw 36 Lost 48

“India has made a lot of progress over the last five years”

The Romanian is regarded as a great promoter of the Super League, always with the aim of bringing the clubs to a higher level in the long term, both in sporting and structural terms. “India has made a lot of progress over the last five years,” Parth Jindal, managing director of Bengaluru FC, told Deutsche Welle at the end of last year. “The ISL has brought a lot of money and investment,” said Jindal. “Our infrastructure has really improved, we have high quality training grounds and stadiums across the country now. It is being televised well and has brought a lot more awareness.”

From Zico to MaterazziForreign coaches in the Indian Super LeagueClick here for overviewStill, the league’s presence is far from encompassing the entire country; several large states do not have a club, and much potential is being wasted. Some time ago, the league was expanded from eight to eleven teams in order to keep its clout growing. In the eyes of some experts, this is still insufficient. Calls for an adjustment of the competition are regularly heard, for example, the introduction of promotion and relegation could further encourage the clubs to invest in sporting areas. Even there, developments have been steady in recent years, however. For instance, the number of foreign footballers allowed to play has been reduced in order to give locals more playing time. The medium-term goal is to pave the way for Indian players to move to the European leagues and thus send out another positive signal for Indian football.

Brdaric moves to the Indian Super League: “A mega challenge”

One of those who are supposed to contribute to this is former Germany international and 204-time Bundesliga player Thomas Brdaric. The announcement by two-time ISL championsChennaiyin FC that they had signed the 46-year-old for the coming season came as no small surprise to many. In an interview with, Brdaric describes how the employment came about and with which expectations and goals he is approaching the adventure in India.

Staff Thomas Brdaric T. Brdaric Age: 47 All seasons –
All competitions Games 267 Won 145 Draw 56 Lost 66

“It will definitely be a mega challenge,” Brdaric said about two weeks before he officially takes up his post. In recent years, the formerLeverkusen andHannover striker has repeatedly celebrated successes in Germany and other European countries, most recently winning the cup and qualifying for Europe with Albanian first division clubKF Vllaznia. India is a new territory for the native of Nürtingen. “It’s not really a country, it’s a continent,” Brdaric said about the most populous country in the world after the People’s Republic of China. The German has not yet been there because he was suffering from a bacterial infection and the contract talks took place via calls.

Market values and moreAll info on the Indian Super LeagueClick here for overviewThe always optimistic coach with a proven hands-on mentality is clearly looking forward to the upcoming tasks already. “From the most poisonous animals to nature and landscapes, different cultures there is a lot to discover,” Brdaric said. “I also want to get to know the mentality and the people better with the help of football, so that I can also work even better.” He has already had a conversation with Manuel Friedrich, who played forMumbai City in the ISL for six months in 2014. “It’s a different kind of football, but the national team is always a good benchmark, and they qualified for the next round at the Asian Cup with three victories,” Brdaric said of his conversation with the former Mainz, Bremen, Leverkusen and Borussia Dormund player.

Manuel Friedrich played for Mumbai City in 2014 Manuel Friedrich played for Mumbai City in 2014

Just a few weeks ago, Brdaric was also on the radar of several clubs in Germany and reports of appreciative talks. However, the movement that happened at the end of the season due to numerous dismissals in the Bundesliga and 2. Liga made the situation in the European country more difficult. “Due to the fact that very many coaches were on the market at the end of the season who had already worked in higher leagues, the situation was difficult,” Bradaric said. “But then you have to accept that.” Guido Nickolay’s agency Soccer and more then put him in touch with the Indian Super League. “We had some basic talks, during which I quickly realised that the club was run very professionally and that the people in charge were pursuing goals that interested me,” said Brdaric. While the coach had to struggle with numerous adversities in Albania recently, especially in the structural area, partly organising materials, clothing and other stuff himself, the ISL, as described at the beginning, is already much further ahead. In terms of sporting quality, it ranks between the second and third tiers in Germany, while the framework conditions have long been close to the level of major European leagues.

Chennayin FC: Owned by Bollywood star, cricketer and shareholder Vita Dani

After officially taking office, Brdaric will have six weeks to prepare for the national cup competition Durand Cup, which will be held from August onwards, before the ninth season of the newly established franchise league starts in autumn. His club Chennayin finished as champions twice in the previous eight years. “It’s a very familiar club, which I like. It’s held by three owners, a Bollywood star, a cricketer and shareholder Vita Dani,” Brdaric said. The German is already in close contact with national team coach Stimac. After all, Chennayin currently have Anirudh Thapa, a seasoned international, in their ranks. “Of course, I’m looking forward to him, but there are also some very good players and young talents there who I would like to develop further.” Brdaric’s goal is to qualify for theAFC Champions League and establish the club there. “For now, it’s designed for the next year and then we will see how it goes,” Brdaric said about the timeframe for the Chennayin project. “Of course, Ihope that my work will be liked and bear fruit. To be allowed to coach in this league is an absolute privilege. I’m already involved in organisational processes, also in terms of transfers and I can’t wait to get started there at the site.”

Market Value Anirudh Thapa A. Thapa Central Midfield €200Th.

Unlike the “old stars” mentioned at the beginning, Brdaric is coming to the foreign country with great ambitions eight years later: “It’s always clear to me that when I take such a step, it’s only out of complete conviction and with the goal of building something long-term and sustainable. I will approach this with maximum energy and my know-how and try to be successful with the club together with the local people.”

Text and interview: Thomas Deterding

Translation: Daniel Busch

Brdaric’s journey into the unknown: “Such a step can only be taken out of complete conviction”