SINGAPORE: Post Nehru Cup, National Coach Wim Koevermans has travelled almost the length and breadth of the country to have a look at the Federation Cup and the first two rounds of the I-League. As India gear up for the International Friendly against Singapore scheduled to be played at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on October 16, Koevermans spoke at length to www.the-aiff.com on the significance of the match, his assessment of Singapore, the primary aim, the talent pool in India and much more.
What is the significance of the International Friendly against Singapore?
The match stays the same as every game but its significance stays huge. Just like any other game, we want to win this one at any cost. It’s important to perform well everytime we play. The Nehru Cup triumph was encouraging indeed. But now, it’s all about the next step. We need to improve ourselves and we just can’t ever compromise on it.
After the Nehru Cup triumph, what stays your biggest challenge?
We need to be consistent. The most challenging part stays to maintain a minimum level of quality and do well in the next game, ie the International Friendly against Singapore. But it isn’t that easy. We need to work hard to maintain a certain standard. We shouldn’t forget we are preparing for a bigger challenge.
It’s good to assemble as much as possible but the players have their own club commitments and it’s not possible all throughout the year. But we plan to play in each of the FIFA Friendly dates. The boys need to stay in touch with International Football as we aim to qualify for the big tournament – the 2015 Asian Cup.
What do you expect from Singapore as a team?
I have had a look at one of their matches on video and they are a good and organised side who are a tough opposition. They are a tough nut to crack. We shouldn’t forget that they will playing on their own home ground and be cheered vociferously by their local fans. I only hope we have some Indian support in the crowd as well. (smiles).
You have had a look at the domestic scenario in the Federation Cup and some matches in the I-League? What do you think of the talent all over?
It was interesting to watch the boys play for their respective clubs. We’ve scouted and created a list of lot of players in various positions. We will follow and monitor their progress and position on a regular basis. We are in no mood to hurry as the National Team is an altogether different level.
But the doors stay open for everyone. All those who are capable enough of donning the National Team jersey will get a chance for sure. But for that, one needs to play well and more importantly, be good enough.
India are bidding to host the final of the AFC Challenge Cup? How much will it help Indian football?
Whenever you have crowd support, it helps. In the Nehru Cup final, the fans turned up and it acted as our 12th man. But we need to take everything step by step. History of Football suggests, whenever teams play at home, they attain at least a certain advantage.
By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media Team