“I’m not a hundred per cent happy."
These aren't the words you'd want to hear from the coach of the Indian national U17 football team's coach if you're an Indian football administrator or aficionado. In honest terms, one would've gambled against some of the stymieing galls faced by Adam in terms of team selection and talent pool, exhibition matches and all round cooperation from state and governmental bodies to have receded by now.
However, the 39-year-old coach explains that the calibre of teams faced by them for friendlies just isn't good enough, calls the upcoming Youth Cup in Goa a 'mini World Cup', whilst also opining that his team are improving on the intensity front thanks to his coaching.
"We have a couple of injuries. Few players are doing rehab right now. Even our captain Amarjit (Singh) is having some problems with his old injury. The matches we played, especially the exhibition matches against Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Odisha, were too easy for us. They were not really preparing us for what is to come on Sunday. It will always be a problem that we don’t have opponents of this calibre in India. But the boys work hard and injuries are a part of the training process. It happens in the game,” he continued, from his earlier complaint of the issues plaguing his squad's preparation for the U17 World Cup next year and the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) U16 championship, in September, 2016.
Asked about the upcoming five-nation tournament hosted by Goa from May 16th onward, in which India will participate against the colts of South Korea (Korea Republic), the United States of America, Tanzania and Malaysia, Adam certain dressed this tournament as the biggest in recent history for his team.
“Mini World Cup for us! We have a team from North America (USA) that always qualifies for the U-17 World Cup, an African team (Tanzania) we all don’t know much about, there’s South Korea and Malaysia as well. (They're all) Good teams. I think it is fantastic that we have a tournament like this for the first time on Indian soil. I hope a lot of people will come in and watch the games,” opined the former Azerbaijan technical head of development.
He was asked his thoughts on the finals of the Under-15 league which saw Royal Wahingdoh and Minerva contest the final to which the German replied, “I saw the final. My assistant saw few more matches. But we saw the final together. The speed was quite good, it was a lot better than what I saw a year before when I signed my contract. The boys seemed to be the right age. We even invited three players from Minerva to train with us. They are not ready right now, but are there in the bigger picture. Even in Royal Wahingdoh, there were a couple of very good players. I think you can see a little progress.”
Finally if probed on whether the high intensity of his training will affect the squad physically, as the issues of injuries need to be managed ahead of a seemingly headline tournament for the Blue Colts, the former DFB coach concluded, "Abhishek (Yadav) came and trained with us and said the intensity was very high. We didn’t start like this yesterday. It’s a process. When I came here, the training wasn’t intense. A year ago there was no intensity. Now we’re improving from a physical point of view.”