NEW DELHI: Sometimes the road seems to have no end. You drive and drive amidst the green but the destination never seems to arrive. On the way, you cross milestones – the Budh International Circuit and then the newly formed Yamuna Expressway — Delhi to Agra in just 2 hours! Life’s fast, no doubt.
But you are yet to reach the Greens, Jaypee Greens. But once you are there at the Integrated Sports Complex, you feel refreshed. Not because of the state-of-the-art facility which the Senior Indian Team has been making use of, but for the newly targeted vision for Indian Football. ‘Pass, pass and pass.’ Lose the ball, regroup fast, try to win it back and then ‘pass, pass and pass.’
The Nehru Cup awaits — defending Champions India take on runners-up Syria in the tournament opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday (August 22). The kick-off is slated for 7pm.
You move around and the whisper makes rounds. ‘Patience,’ stays the buzz. The players mention so, the staff mention so.
National Coach Wim Koevermans smiles. “The sport is all about the ball. You keep possession, you stay in control. You lose possession, you need to gain it back fast so that you stay in control,” he utters. The practice sessions have been enough testimony to that.
“But you need to be patient,” quips Chhetri. “In every sphere of life, you ought to be. Adaptaion to the new style under a new Coach needs patience. Just because of the new setup, you can’t expect miracles.”
Syria have been studied but as Koevermans insists, videos are never the true reflection of any team. “When you study a team via a video, it doesn’t give you an impression of their off the ball movements,” he propheses. Incidentally, this is the first time any Indian National Team has the luxury of a video analyst.
“Syria are one of the best teams in Asia,” Chhetri continues. “Just because we beat them in the last two editions of the Nehru cup doesn’t mean the trend will continue. But we want it to.”
Questions keep flowing at the pre-match Press Conference. “I urge all the fans to be behind us when we take the field at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium,” Sunil says in Hindi. Realising it was all Latin for Koevermans who was sitting next, he turned to him and apologised. “Carry on. I understand what you say,” the Coach quipped as everyone burst into laughter.
The kicks-off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is at 7pm (August 22, 2012).
By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team