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The coach explained that he doesn't fear any tactics thrown in by the Filipino's and also wanted his team to correct mistakes done in the SAFF final

Wim Koevermans hopes his team can get back to winning ways after failing to defend their SAFF Championship crown in Nepal where they lost the final to Afghanistan. In their first game back home on Indian soil, an international friendly against Philippines, India will no doubt look to pound home a point against a higher placed opposition. Koevermans will no doubt look to capitalize on home advantage.   

Quizzed on the importance of this game coming back after a SAFF championship defeat, he expounded, “It was a disappointment not to win the final, but we deserved to win it. We were much better than Afghanistan. Also to win a game you must score goals to pick up a winner. So that was a disappointment. Onwards to our next game against the Philippines and it’s going to be a very interesting match. We have to play matches to get more experience and that’s what we are here for.”

The Dutchman has had to make as many ten changes to his squad from the SAFF Championship with several players not being in action in the I-League having pledged their alliance with IMG-Reliance’s Indian Super League (ISL).

“I cannot talk about the team yet. There are a lot of different players in this team and you know the reasons why. So that’s a quite a lot of players we have brought in. Some of them are new some of them a have been here before, so that’s the situation of the team at the moment.”

On being questioned on the condition of the ground at Siliguri, Koevermans said, “It’s good to be back. The ground looks excellent. Looking forward to a full stadium and the ground is close to the pitch. You know, I was here last year for the Federation Cup, and I thought to myself this is a good place to conduct a friendly, and here we are today. ”

Koevermans claims to have done his home work on the Azkals having seen their last game against United Arab Emirates which they lost 4-0.

“We have a video of their game (UAE 4- 0 Philippines). I think it’s a little bit a cooler than what they played in Dubai. But, yes that’s the way in football. The weather is hot sometimes and the last time in the Federation Cup it rained here. So that was days ago. Here its eleven versus eleven, the ground is good and I think they will be happy with that as well,” explained the coach on how he saw the Philippines acclimatize themselves to the weather in Siliguri.

The national squad has maximum representation from East Bengal with as many as four players.

“That’s not the way I look at it. There are a lot of folks in the team from Salgaocar FC as well, so I don’t know if your count is right. That’s not the way I choose my team. I look at the players, whether they are from the north, south, east or west- it does not matter to me. All I care about is quality players. When they’re with me they wear the shades of the national team, so there’s no club colours involved here,” was the coach’s diktat on being questioned if East Bengal players were disproportionately represented in his team compared to a scant few others from various teams.

Koevermans was duly reminded on the aerial strength of the Filipino squad and asked about how he planned to adjust his style of play to negate the Azkal threat, the Dutchman replied, “We play the way we want to play. We have some tall players as well.”

Finally, he was asked by one of the mediapersons on the impact of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement and what he thought of the cricketer as an ideal sportsman.

“I’ve seen quite a lot of cricket here in India. It’s impressive to see the attention and how people love him and it’s interesting to follow and a very nice thing to see. However, I’m here for football,” exclaimed the coach, concluding the interview.

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