Off-field issues give Koevermans additional headache

Cause of concern this time around is the release of three players from the national camp at Bengaluru...

Wim Koevermans’ tenure at the helm of India’s national team was supposed to focus squarely on the refurbishment of the Indian team’s method of play. However, as his tenure stretches out, the off-field issues seem to be raging as well.

This time around the release of three players form the national camp being held at Bengaluru on Sunday seem to be hogging the headlines. What’s more concerning is the petty nature of these issues that dragged two of the players out of contention for a national berth.

While Denzil Franco has been sidelined due to an injury suffered in Tajikistan, Mohammed Rafique and Tsewang Karma have been released for their failure to produce passports.

What adds to Wim's woes here is that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) cannot call-up additional players for the camp as the required list of 30 players had already been registered for the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship.

This is particularly bad thorn in the skin as team India more so than Koevermans, need all hands on deck to propel the team out of their present predicament of bad form and underwhelming results culminating in a dismal record for the coach so far.

Since taking over last year Koevermans has seen his team win against relatively small opponents in Chinese Taipei and Guam in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Challenge Cup but suffer humiliating defeats against worthy Asian adversaries like Singapore, Myanmar and more recently Tajikistan. They have also lost to Middle-Eastern team Palestine in an international friendly.

The off-field problems may be incongruent to India’s pitiful form of late but it does raise doubts about the national team’s preparation for the SAFF Championship due to kickoff in September. Something Koevermans could have done without. 


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