English Coaches and Mongolian Football

A link between English coaches and Mongolian football can be found at New Mongol Bayangol Football Club a club based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They play in the 1st division also known as the National 1st League the second tier of Mongolian Football. Last year they made their debut season in the Mongolian Premier League but were relegated in their first season. This unusual football club was partly founded by an English writer and football coach, Paul Watson whose brother Mark Watson is a celebrity comedian. It may seem strange that an Englishman would found a football club in Mongolia but he had his reasons.

There is history with Paul Watson (pictured) and Football in far reached countries, an example of this is while Paul was working on a documentary about the worlds weakest footballing nations he tried to get a game for the Pohnpei State (the lowest ranked nation in FIFA's rankings) football team before realising he would need to get citizenship. This proved too much of a hurdle, however, after two years of negotiations he did become their coach. There is a book about this experience named Up Pohnpei.

After his previous experience, he wanted to run a football club very far from his homeland of England in a country where Football didn’t have the riches of his home country. He was approached in 2013 by Enkhjin Batsumber, a Mongolian local about starting a team in Mongolia. Paul, of course, took up this offer and helped lead public tryouts indoors due to the extreme weather conditions. This was viewed across the country as a reality TV show. This tv show attracted fellow Englishman Jack Brazil in 2013 to the club acting as a coach for the team. He was only 20 years old. Along with the reality show, people like Paul and Jack tried to help to create a professional club by having them train 5 days a week instead of the previous 3 days. Due to the hard work that Paul put into the team they were able to apply for and enter the Mongolian Premier League for the first time in 2016. Sadly Paul wasn't with the team by the time they started in the league. After this, the team was able to set up a link with New Mongol academy which focused on youth development. The name of the football club changed to the New Mongol Bayangol Football Club from Bayangol FC during this time.

In 2016 the club started its first season in the Mongolian Premier League finishing 9th with 3 wins in the 18 games played. As there are only 10 teams in this league they were relegated down to the first division. Although they were relegated, they are going into the new season (starting in February 2018) feeling strong and confident hoping for a promotion. The club also has a link with Irish club Limerick FC who can boast former England manager Sam Allardyce as a former manager.

The club is looking to move forward to starting the new season with another English man Shadab Iftikhar, (pictured), a man who has a CV that includes working with Roberto Martinez at both Everton and Wigan. As the league is in the close season which lasts for longer than some places due to very cold winters we will not hear too much more about them till the season kicks off again. If you are interested in how this very unusual team is getting on once the season kicks off again we will have updates throughout the season on their process.

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