Football in bio-bubble will be a challenge, says Fowler

New Delhi (AFP) – Former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler said Saturday that preparing new club East Bengal for their first season in the Indian Super League during the coronavirus pandemic will be a supreme challenge.

Fowler has made India the latest stop of his much travelled career after he gave up as manager of Australia’s Brisbane Roar this year.

All 11 ISL teams are currently confined to separate bio bubbles before the start of the league expected to start in November behind closed doors.

“It’s a new club with a hundred-year-old heart. I and the staff around me will give everything to make the club successful,” Fowler told reporters from his home in Liverpool.

“No doubt, it will be a challenge for football in the world to get going again in such situations and circumstances, we need to adapt,” he added.

“We will be sensible in our approach. We are here to do our work whether we are in a bubble or not. We will do everything to make the players as comfortable as possible.”

East Bengal were last month named as the 11th side in the growing ISL which in seven years of existence has become the country’s top football competition. Fellow Britons Phil Brown, coach at Hyderabad, and ex-Burnley boss Owen Coyle, now at Jamshedpur, are also in charge of ISL teams.

Fowler, who ended his playing career in 2012, coached at Muangthong United in Thailand before moving to Liverpool’s academy in 2013 and then Brisbane last year where he stayed until the pandemic halted play in March.

He said his experience of building teams across the globe gives him confidence to get the best out of East Bengal, based in Kolkata, the hub of Indian football.

“We have had a history where we have built a team which struggled and made them successful over in Australia,” said Fowler, who is expected to join East Bengal within a week.

“We know we can do it. It is a challenge we can’t wait to start.”

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