KOCHI: Bino George sports a thick bushy moustache these days, which is a departure from his trademark clean-shaven look.
It could be an indication of how this veteran football coach from Kerala is looking to try out new things in life. Bino is a familiar name in Indian football thanks to the success he has enjoyed with Gokulam Kerala FC in recent times.
The 44-year-old who was currently serving as the Technical Director of Gokulam shocked everybody by announcing that he was leaving the club.
Considered among the first appointments made by the club when it was formed in 2017, Bino was instrumental in their trophy-laden journey since then. The 2020-21 I-League title, Durand Cup in 2019, Indian Women's League (2020) and two Kerala Premier League titles were secured under his watchful eyes as he wore many different hats at the Kozhikode-based club.
Bino who is the first coach from Kerala to hold the AFC Pro-License coaching badge started out as the club's head coach but settled into the Technical Director's role in later years taking up administrative duties.
The Thrissur native feels it was better to leave on a high and look for a new challenge. "At Gokulam, we have won mostly everything that was there to be won. From the KPL to the I-League which is the big one. It's better to leave on a high and the biggest reason to leave is to be a coach again. I want to be a head coach once again," he said.
The thrill of being in the dugout is what Bino is craving and he admitted that there are some offers on the table including those from Indian Super League clubs.
"Some ISL clubs did contact me. But most of those roles will see you being in the coaching staff and not in the role of the head coach. There are some other options where I can be the coach as well. Hopefully, a decision will be taken soon," he said.
As a coach, he has the knack of scouting for promising young talents. He had scouted some exciting young talents including Emil Benny for the Kerala team when he was the coach and helped them top south zone qualifiers. Emil then went on to shine for Gokulam last season. Bino is even credited to have unearthed CK Vineeth.
Bino who has over a decade and a half worth of experience as a coach and in management said that the Gokulam project was among his most satisfying works till date.
"It was like we built the club from scratch. When I was appointed, I was among the first to be recruited and we had a very small budget to assemble the squad. To see Gokulam become what it is today, I feel incredibly proud. The management said that a seat will always be vacant for you and hearing that makes you proud and incredibly happy. I'm so happy for all the memories and success we created together. It is now time to look ahead," he said.