It is kind of late to write an article on success of Aizawl FC after their I League championship this year, there have been lots of articles written about it’s success. It has brought about a lot of pride and given hope and confidence to a lot of the mizo and northeastern youth that even though we are a small community from Northeast, marginalized, small in stature and not wealthy, we can still come out first and suceed in a all India football tournament in a country of 1 billion people.
But did the Mizo people do it alone, the Mizo people in Mizoram are known for their hardwork as well as their pride in their own dignity. We have student Unions who unjustly tax non Mizo businessmen from the plain. A lot of Mizo people are unsecure in seeking support for developing better business infrastructure and investment in Mizoram due to fear of assimilation.
Let’s have a closer look at the sucessful Aizawl TEAM:
1. Selection of the best Coach without prejudice: Coach Khalid Jamil is a muslim from Mumbai but with more than 10 years experience in the I league, this did not prevent owner of Aizawl FC Team Robert Royte from recruiting him inspite of his religious background. If Mizoram is to suceed, it’s time that they take stock in areas of business and get the bet person to Manage it. Even in a mighty country like USA, they have South African Billionaire immigrant entreprenur Ellon Musk who contributes to the country. They also have indian CEO Sunder Pichai as CEO of google. They probably selected Sunder Pichai because of his experience and skills shown for the job and he has contributed to google and to the country. They did not concentrate on hiring an American, same here for Mizoram.
2. Giving Freedom to the Coach: Another very important point here is that after appointing the Coach, you give him freedom to choose his team. East Bengal with a much bigger budget sometimes buys the best player before hiring the Coach, it’s important the players fit the Coaches temperament. Once you hire the coach, it’s important to give him a free hand. Jamil brought in Ashutosh, Rane and Al amna and maybe other players. This certainly brought about a difference.
3. Team Name – Aizawl FC had a very passionate fan following, it also was able to get support wherever it went. To a certain extent, it was because it encompassed a lot more people in just it’s name. If the teams name was let’s say Air India, Some Cement Company or some Cola sponser company, it would have evoked a lot less respone. It’s important to take into consideratin the branding and marketing strategy. The use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram defintely helped in developing passion.
4. Multiculturalism – Mizo’s generally have a deep mistrust with mainlander Indians due to past history of insurgency and with regards to african’s, Mizo’s have an admiration of people with fair or whiter skin, it could be due to the fact that the former colonizers were british as well as the missionaries. But Aizawl FC had three mainland Indian Player, 2 from Mumbai, 1 from Goa and Three African Players- 1 from Liberia, 1 from Ivorty Cost and 1 from Nigeria and 1 from Syria, a Muslim Country. If Aizawl FC had played the matches with only players from Mizoram, they may have not won the I –League. Likewise, if you see any big corporates around the world, it’s color blind, the most important critieria being quality and suitability for the Job. If a Company from Mizoram is to be listed in the Mumbai stock Market or be a big corporate, it’s unlikely that it can be handled by just a team from Mizoram. They would need skillset from all over India and maybe the world. HR Manager from Kerala, CEO from Mumbai, CFO from Chennai. The ownership may still be with Mizoram but to suceed and have success it’s important to pick the right person for the job.
5. Passion and hardwork not Money- Last but not the least, the success of Aizawl FC has shown the way that it’s not just money that matters. The Budget of the whole of Aizawl FC player was equal to the fee of Sony Nordy, Striker from Mohun Bagan FC. The players from Mizoram who won the I league also have 2 eyes, 1 nose, 1 mouth, 2 hand and 2 legs like most of us. They had to travel further than anyone else as their base was in Aizawl, they were probably payed lower than other football teams, accomodated in cheaper hotel than other hotels but in their football matches, you could see that they struck their winning goals deep into the second half. This was not due to just luck, This was because they worked harder, trained harder and gave more effort in whatever came before them.