Thiruvananthapuram: Former Shillong Lajong FC manager Thangboi Singto will switch the country's hilly northeast with the beaches and backwaters of Kerala after agreeing to become the technical director of youth development and assistant first team coach of Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters FC.
However, more than just a change in the backdrop, Singto felt the opportunity to work alongside and watch some of the best coaches in world football from close quarters were the reasons why he chose to take his coaching to the ISL. "Working alongside top coaches is a platform for me to learn a lot. I cannot comment on the situation between Steve Coppell and the club, but I am sure the new season will be a learning experience for me," Singto said.
"This is my work. Wherever work takes you, you have to go. When the offer came along, I felt connected with the club and the fans and was confident this was the next step in my career," said Singto, who is already picking up Malayalam words which he feels will help him connect with the young Kerala footballers he will work with.
The 43-year-old AFC Pro License holder from Manipur will be joining the 2016 ISL finalists after a fairly successful stint with I-League club Lajong where he helped nurture and develop a countless number of football talents from the North East India. He has previously worked in the ISL as an assistant coach of the NrothEast United FC in 2014.
"I think the ISL is at a higher level compared to the I-League with top players who are taken care of in a better way and with good supporting facilities in place," Singto said. "Earlier, the short duration was a challenge. But from this season onwards, it won't be. We have best Indian players as well as international stars who have played in major tournaments in the ISL," he said.
Singto arrived in Kerala on Monday and has been in discussions with the club management over the future of the club. "I have been visiting the facilities we will be working at. There are things that we can be pleased about as well as areas where we can improve. My work will be to streamline the grassroots initiatives of the club and the youth football development so that we will see the club produce players who can play for the first team in the coming years," Singto said.
Singto joined the Meghalaya club as an assistant coach in 2009 before being promoted to the role of head coach in 2012-13 when he replaced the sacked Desmon Bulpin midway through the season. He guided Lajong to sixth in his first full season 2013-14 before ending his eight-year association with the club this month.