In spite of the promises of beautiful and passing football, in reality Indian football is on a free fall when it comes to both style as well as end product. It's time to deliver..
By Kaustav Bera
Everything is judged by the end result. At least when it comes to football, performances take a backseat and it is indeed results that are the true judge of a coach's worth to his team. Football is such a results oriented sport that the coach is not able to sit back on his past laurels that he might have achieved, and it is instead, every upcoming result that is a real time barometer that decides whether his job is safe, or he is one 'indifferent result' away from being sacked.
Curiously none of this stands, when it comes to India national team manager, Wim Koevermans. Under his tutelage, forget improvement, where he was supposed to pave the way for the team to break into the Top 100, India has rather slipped from 163 in July 2012 to 166 now in the FIFA World Rankings.
|What changed since Savio Medeira?
While Wim took over after India were unceremoniously dumped out of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup, finishing bottom in the group after failing to notch up a single point, now India are almost on the verge of failing to qualify even for the same tournament. Oh! Don't be fooled into thinking that it brings the top Asian teams together, this is a tournament for the so called 'emerging and developing nations'.
And lo and behold! India have finished runners up in the Qualifiers and might as well miss out on the 2014 iteration of the tournament as only two best placed runners up teams go through. India are already in second with two groups, still left to play.
After the debacle against the unfancied Myanmar (they too are above the Blue Tigers in the rankings!) where India needed a draw to secure automatic qualification, but ended up losing due to a definite negative mindset in not only the way they played but also the way they had set out, both in the lineup as well as tactically. Coach Wim Koevermans noted that it was a loss, because his lads had failed to keep the ball.
|Simply not good enough even to qualify
That was the tip of the iceberg of the appaling problems that the Blue Tigers are facing. It is indeed ironical that Wim has made this comment, keeping in mind his mantra of trying to play the 'pass-and-move' game by keeping the ball on the ground, rather than build on the usual 'hoofing the ball forward' at every given opportunity.
What was witnessed in the deplorable performance against Myanmar was exactly opposite of that, as the Indian defenders looked very uncomfortable in possession as the White Angels attacked in waves, and instead of trying to build up a patient attack through the midfield, the defenders resorted to aimless long clearances, clearly a departure from pass and move.
|It was lack of ideas that cost India
In a results oriented business then, nothing much has changed since the reign of Savio Medeira. A customary win in the meaningless Nehru Cup not withstanding, India have achieved absolutely nothing under Wim Koevermans. Leave winning against higher ranked opponents as India went down to both friendlies organised before the Challenge Cup qualifiers. Even the so-called improvement in the style of play seemed to be only words not translated into action.
Simply nothing has changed, instead things have actually gone from bad to worse with simple tactical mistakes costing them automatic qualification. That coupled with naivety in team selection and a certain meekness in approach to even weaker opponents, shows a coach without ideas. This was prominent in India going down 4-2 against a second string Palestine side recently when Wim was found tactically wanting as the opposition coach simply turned it around at half time, while the Dutchman had no answer.
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