'Any team higher than India is a top opponent' - Wim Koevermans looks forward to Palestine friendly

The Dutchman was happy with the facilities at Pune FC and DSK Shivajians, while he gave his thoughts on Palestine and the form of Indian players...

Continuing his tour of footballing hubs across India, Wim Koevermans paid Pune a visit, checking out facilities of Pune FC and DSK Shivajians, apart from catching a glimpse of the I-League action.

The Dutchman was visibly impressed by the facilities available in Pune, and did not rule out the option of holding a training camp in the city in the near future.

“I am checking out a lot of things (facilities and other infrastructure) and the possibility is there (of holding a training camp in Pune). There are some good facilities here. What I want is a good training pitch because the players deserve it and that is how they improve. That is why I also came to see the training facilities in Pune as if you want to improve your team you need good training facilities. Also it reduces the risk of injuries,” he told Goal.com

The former Netherlands International also revealed that he had already visited Kochi, as he wanted to be sure of the facilities in the city.

“That is why I flew to Kochi, to see the training pitch of the stadium as well, and I am satisfied that we will be playing on a good ground and can prepare on a (good) training pitch.”

“I saw the pitch, they had a cricket match recently, but they had leveled it with the ground now and work was going on along the cricket pitch and I am confident by the time we play there, it will be a good ground. It is a nice stadium and we were pleased to see that,” Koevermans added.

Speaking about the reason why they picked Palestine as their opponents for the friendly, the Indian national team head coach said, “As you know, we invite teams on possible dates, but it is not always easy to invite teams as they have their own program, but it was possible to play Palestine and any team higher than India is a top opponent”

While the national side enjoyed great success in the Nehru Cup, defending their crown against a side of Cameroon’s ‘Local Lions’, several of the protagonists of that tournament now find themselves out of form or favour at their respective I-League clubs.

Though Koevermans admitted he was scouting through the I-League for fresh talent, he warned the Indian faithful to not expect too many changes in his squad, as stability was key to success.

The Dutchman explained, “I am not going into individual players, a lot of them play, some don’t. It is always a difficult thing (players being out of form or favour), but we have to find a balance. You (ideally) don’t want to change the group all of a sudden with 15 new players, so I have to find a balance, some (Indian players) play more than others, and some don’t.”

“Yes I have to look, there is a round now and another next week, of course you have some selection (issues) but that is why I travel around grounds to see players myself. I cannot say if there will be one or two surprises, we will have to wait and see,” continued Koevermans, when asked if he would experiment with the squad for the Palestine friendly.

Sunil Chhetri’s chronic lack of playing time with Sporting Clube de Portugal’s “B” side has been well documented. The 1988 European Championship winner though, doesn’t think the forward’s place is in question in the team, and pointed towards the high-level at which Chhetri is training, with his Portuguese club.

“Well you know, you can’t look only at playing time. He trains at a very high level every day of every week so you will find improvement there, even though he doesn’t play every time,” concluded Koevermans.

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