Owen Coyle faces trial by fire ahead of his second season with Jamshedpur

unnamed (1)
Jamshedpur players celebrate a goal

Jamshedpur has always been there or thereabouts in the ‘top four’ race of the Indian Super League but has never made it to the playoffs. 

The Men of Steel played an impressive brand of football last season under the tutelage of head coach Owen Coyle. With the Scottish tactician at the helm this season as well, they will aim to better their performance from last season.

Marred by endless injury woes and issues with consistency, the Jharkhand-based team performed only in bits and parts in the 2020-21 ISL season. In the upcoming league season, the Red Miners will be determined to turn the tables and finally get to the playoffs and potentially beyond.

A look at last season’s performance

At the new year’s break in 2020, Coyle’s men were in the fourth position having shown glimpses of brilliance. The Red Miners looked all set to create history by qualifying for the playoffs for the first time, but they failed to keep up the ante in the second half of the season, resulting in a disappointing sixth-place finish.

Overall, it will be fair to say that they had a decent season with seven wins and six draws. With Jamshedpur aiming to take big strides in Indian football, Coyle will need his team to learn from last season’s mistakes and show more consistency in the 2021-22 edition of the ISL.

New Signings ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season

Veteran Eli Sabia’s experience could come in handy for Jamshedpur

Veteran Eli Sabia’s experience could come in handy for Jamshedpur

Instead of going for new faces, Jamshedpur has signed seasoned ISL campaigners to bolster their roster for the upcoming league season. 

Among foreigners, Coyle’s biggest signing has to be the former Chennaiyin defender Eli Sabia who will replace Stephen Eze. The Brazilian central defender has been playing in India for quite some time now and will bring in loads of experience in a young Jamshedpur defense.

Coyle has also roped in former Kerala Blasters marksman Jordan Murray after the Australian forward stole the limelight last season with his relentless energy and goal-scoring prowess. Murray will be accompanied by former Rangers forward Greg Stewart upfront who adds the much-needed mentality of winning a title in the past couple of seasons.

Also read: East Bengal’s new manager and a new set of players ready for a new dawn?

Among the domestic signings, the Jamshedpur management has brought back Anas Edathodika who became the club’s first-ever signing in 2017. The veteran Indian defender has been out of action for a whole season but if he can find his rhythm back, the Kerala lad could prove to be an astute signing.

Along with Anas, Coyle has also snapped up midfielder Pronay Halder on loan from ATK Mohun Bagan and the veteran midfielder is expected to add the much-needed experience and physicality to the midfield. Seiminlen Doungel is another seasoned Indian player to have joined the club permanently, after spending a few months on loan from Goa.

Among youngsters, Jamshedpur has signed former Goa starlet Ishan Pandita and the former India U17 international Komal Thatal. With Farukh Choudhury nursing an injury and likely to miss the initial stages, the signing of Ritwik Kumar Das as an additional option out wide makes perfect sense.

Predicted Starting Lineup

TP Rehenesh; Laldinliana Renthlei, Peter Hartley, Narender Gehlot, Ricky Lallawmawma; Seiminlen Doungel, Alex Lima, Pronay Halder, Komal Thatal; Greg Stewart, Nerijus Valskis. 


Building a solid defense has been the priority for Coyle ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season. Peter Hartley will look to lead the Men of Steel once again, and unlike last season, he will have a very capable deputy in Eli Sabia.

Players like Anas Edathodika, Narender Gehlot, Sandip Mandi and Jitendra Singh will only strengthen the backline. Though the players will need to prove their mettle on the pitch, Jamshedpur’s defence this season looks far better on paper as compared to last season.

Coyle has also addressed the goal-scoring woes for Jamshedpur by adding Stewart, Pandita, and Murray to the forward line. They were overly reliant on Nerijus Valskis last season, but this time around, the Lithuanian goal-machine will have fantastic company alongside competing for the second striker role in Coyle’s 4-4-2 setup.


Coyle and Jamshedpur’s think tank might have addressed the issues in defense and attack, but the midfield issues have remained unaddressed and probably worsened by the departure of Aitor Monroy. 

The Red Miners have allowed Monroy to leave the club but failed to sign a creative midfielder to replace the Spanish midfielder. Brazilian midfielder Alex Lima had an underwhelming debut season in ISL and will be under pressure to deliver and redeem himself in Monroy’s absence.

Season Predictions

The Men of Steel have come close to qualifying for the playoffs time and again, but have always stumbled at the last few hurdles. Looking to break the jinx again, their primary aim will be a place in the playoffs. 

Owen Coyle’s future at the club might also hinge on what his team can produce this season as two consecutive seasons outside the top four could spell the end of Scotsman’s time at the club.