Interview: Indian National Football Team Coach Wim Koevermans


India’s U-22 players greet National Coach Wim Koevermans at a practice session in Muscat.MUSCAT: The players had heard about him but had never seen him in person. So when Wim Koevermans met India’s U-22 boys for the first time at a practice session in Muscat, it was a special moment for them. A day later, Koevermans and Technical Director Rob Baan spoke at length to about India’s performance against United Arab Emirates, the coaching philosophy, discipline and a lot more. EXCERPTS:

You watched India take on United Arab Emirates in the U-22 AFC Championship. What was been your impression?

Koevermans: I am quite pleased with the manner things were conducted on the pitch. Obviously, there are areas of improvement. But one needs to remember that the performance came against a strong Nation as United Arab Emirates.  We had our moments on the field and could have won it. There were some elements which are very promising indeed.

Rob Baan, sitting next, nodded. He added: “It was heartening to see that boys were focused all throughout. They were passionate to play for their country, though I must admit that the passion at times, was disturbing the tactics a bit. Baan smiled, so did Wim.

What was your perception of Indian football prior to taking over?

Koevermans: There were some similarities in the style of play with Ireland, the last Nation I worked in. But at the International level, the game has changed vastly and we need to implement the same to keep ourselves updated. We need to get accustomed fast and try to develop with a young set of boys.

It was only 16 days of practice that the U-22 squad had under Arthur Papas prior to coming over to Oman. Are you impressed the manner the boys have settled down to the new style of play?

The new style and discipline will take time. There will have to be changes and it always takes time. So we just can’t afford to hurry at the moment. Let’s be patient and the difference will be evident.

You will be officially taking charge from July 1 and the Nehru Cup will be your first assignment. What will your plans stay for the Nehru Cup?

Koevermans: It’s too early to comment on that at the moment. I have some meeting lined up in the first week of July and only after that will I be in a position to dish it out.

With Rob Baan having seen earlier Indian teams from close, it stayed imperative we got his view on the discipline within the squad. Hence he was asked:

In such a Championship, how much of a role does discipline play off the field?

Baan: It’s an unbreakable part. There can be no success without discipline. Look at the Dutch squad as an example. The players need to listen, take proper rest, sleep and at the right time and have common goal. Only then can you think of success. If you don’t have the discipline, the results will be damaging.

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