It is often said that a popular and successful predecessor’s shoes are often the hardest to fill. History proves it everywhere. Now, Marcos Falopa is getting a lesson at it first-hand. In what comes as a startling revelation, the East Bengal players, including foreigners, have expressed difficulty in adapting to his varying training methods and now the dissatisfaction seems to be growing.
In particular, Falopa’s versatility technique (trying players out in different positions) hasn’t gone down well. Players also expressed their need to improve the overall ball possession formula instead of undue physical conditioning.
The matter was so serious that players actually had an impromptu meeting once the coach had left their training venue, which was the Salt Lake stadium, Kolkata.
As the news spread, some tried to quell the chatter by saying, “We have held such meetings in the past. Why is it becoming controversial now?”
However Alvito D'Cunha, an assistant coach, lashed wounds open by opining, “See, I cannot deny that the players are not happy with the coach’s methods and techniques. The players were terribly unhappy after today’s training. But things haven’t gone out of control. You need to give the coach some time to settle down. The players also need more time to adjust to his ways,” to The Telegraph.
“The seniors are playing an active role in trying to sort out the issues between the coach and the others. I am grateful to Uga (Okpara) and (Edeh) Chidi… They have come forward and offered a helping hand… Actually, that is the need of the hour. We need to help each other out… Hopefully, things will take a turn for the better,” he elucidated.
The feelings of players are based on the fact that under Trevor Morgan’s tenure they had a stable performance factor. Now with expectations weighing down on them, they want to keep things simple and aim to avoid fans backlash under new leadership.
“Yes, there are a few issues between the coach and the players. We are failing to adapt to his methods. We had a meeting today. We will now discuss the issue with the officials. Hopefully, everything will be sorted out soon," expressed a foreign player on condition of anonymity.
Rumours abound that all four foreign players have failed to adapt to the Brazilian coach’s methodology and this is raising quite a few eyebrows.
On being confronted with the speculation surrounding his players’ unease, Falopa chose to be liberal and say, “I don’t know whether the players in the squad are terribly upset with my training methods. I am not aware of any such happenings.”
Furthermore the coach has expressed that his team need more time to be competition fit with his team taking on Indonesia’s Semen Padang in the AFC Cup quarterfinal clash on September 17th.
Players it seems were more comfortable with Trevor Morgan whose three-year stint with the club helped him gain many an admirer and friend amongst all of the clubs’ personnel due to his vibrant personality.
Falopa who has displayed the characteristics of a strict headmaster, fashioning discipline over fun has created quite a flutter amongst the Red and Gold’s players.
“Every coach has a different style and approach to the game. These players got used to Morgan’s style. But Falopa is new and we should give him time,” argued a source to The Times of India.
Seniors viz. Chidi, Okpara and Alvito amongst others it has been revealed are doing their bit to smoothen out rough edges, even though the former two (Chidi and Okpara) along with new South Sudanese recruit Moga were at the receiving end of a critical reception by Falopa as they had arrived late for pre-season.
One East Bengal official did not even bat an eye-lid when quizzed on the matter by conveying, “Everything depends on success. If the coach is successful, he will continue. But if he flops, we may be prompted to think otherwise.”
Santosh Bhattacharya, club secretary, being pragmatic said, “We have heard about the problems… But we haven’t been able to speak to the players or the coach. We want to speak to them as soon as possible… Then we will plan our course of action.”
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