Marcos Falopa’s recognition as tough and professional coach is set in cement. His recent media session, as coach of East Bengal, further concretized this.
The flavour of the interview seemed to be focused on the issue regarding the melancholy surrounding players and their disinterest in adapting to new formations. They had even gone to the extent of holding an impromptu meeting to discuss the issue of Falopa and his training sets. The club officials then chose to take stock of the situation and not only censure players but put a ring of control on the staff as well, revoking permits to speak to the media and ensuring all was well.
Now, in his first interview after the story broke, the Brazilian coach denies any bad blood between his players and himself candidly admitting, “We don’t party together, but we’re a close knit group.”
“I don’t care about what is being said behind my back. The only truth for the players and myself is hard work. That is my only concern, not what is said about me,” clarified a resolved Falopa, to The Telegraph, after his team beat Police AC in a practice match at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.
Trying not to browbeat his way around the matter, the coach said, “I’m happy with my players. They are gradually improving. When the players discuss something among themselves, it’s about their needs and wishes… From themselves and the club. The only thing I’m interested in is the training.”
“I have coached Africans and Asians before. So while I’m coaching in East Bengal, I certainly don’t have a problem in dealing with an African, a Japanese or the Indians.It’s not at all an issue and I know my job,” was a statement of intent issued by Falopa, to all those who questioned his skills as a coach and man-manager.
Allaying fears that his methods had led to Ryuji Sueoka’s injury, the coach confirmed that the it had occurred earlier and that he and James Moga were at the club’s treatment table.
On the depth of his current squad, Falopa said he had keenly observed the progress and chose to enunciate, “They are closer to the desired level. Like Uga (Okpara) needs to work a little harder, someone like Robert (Lalthlamuana) has been doing quite well.
“Then, youngsters like Jiten (Murmu) and Wasim (Akram Mallick) are very promising. You know, when Pele first played for the national team, he was just 17 years old.”
Choosing to highlight the different formations used by the Brazilian side at the 1994 World Cup, Falopa chose to lay bare to the acidulous issue of entrusting players in wrong positions, by enlightening, “I haven’t decided yet which formation I would employ. It’s all about adapting according to the situation. You can’t just worry about the position. In 1994, the Brazil coach (Carlos Alberto Parreira) made Romario play as a midfielder in training. There wasn’t any uproar about that.”
He also ceremoniously added, “I am not crazy. Whatever is good, should be continued with.
“Whatever is not, should be changed. You should not change positions just like that. Some players can adapt easily, some cannot. So you can’t simplify everything.”
The gaffer, well aware of the impetuous of the next match i.e. the quarter-final tie against Indonesia’s Semen Padang in the AFC Championships, especially amongst the fans, he lamented, “We suffer because five players are away in the national camp (for the SAFF Championships) and two are injured but that’s normal, that’s football.”
He also went on to cautiously add that he believes in his players and is willing to work with that, acknowledging the strength of the opposition.
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