As India gear up for a final bout with Pakistan in Bangalore, the Indian national team's coach is happy with the progress made by his team and expects another full house to rous...
Wim Koevermans, the Dutch coach of the Indian national team, is who you would ideally describe as cool, calm and collected. His jocular demeanour will be tested however when India Under-23 go head to head with Pakistan Under-23, in the final tie of their two match friendly series, in Bangalore.
“We look forward to having a full house. And we are looking for a win,” iterated the Dutchman after their latest training session, at a press conference.
Introduced to the fact that no less than six players debuted for their national side in the previous game against the Shaheens, Koevermans beamed and replied, “I came to know later that there were six players who made their debut for India in the last match. It’s such a proud moment for them. I didn’t realize it but that’s never the way I select my team. If the six played, they played because they deserved it. I’m so happy for the boys.
“It’s a match they will never forget. In fact, no player ever forgets his first international match. And they played in such a wonderful atmosphere. It was a full stadium, live on national television and it was against Pakistan,” added Koevermans.
Koevermans elucidated, “I expect Pakistan to be competitive once again. And hopefully we get to play with 11 men for the full 90 minutes. We aim to carry on the momentum and expect for a good match.
“This will be our seventh match in preparation to the Incheon Asian Games. In Czech Republic we played against strong senior club sides and this time we are playing an U-23 national side who are also preparing for the Asian Games. We hope for it to turn out good,” he explained.
Questioned on the perceived overdependence of the Indian national team on record goal scorer Sunil Chhetri, he said, ““There’s no denying he scores but at the same time there are others who gets into scoring opportunities. We are paying special attention to the aspect of finishing. That’s an area of improvement for sure. Games are the test which helps us define ourselves.”
“There has been a huge improvement in our game from day one when we all assembled in Bangalore. We had to bring the team tactically to one platform. But at the same, there are a few things which we can do better from our first match against Pakistan. We need to make sure that we do it better,” revealed Koevermans, who went on to add, "We intend to improve in our style of play in the next game. The manner in which we react and behave when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball will be significant and help us develop for the future.”
The Pakistani national coach, Mohammed Shamlan Al-Mubarak meanwhile, stressed that his team had enough information on their dossier of the Indian style of play, to turn the tables on their hosts and ensure a victory in final game of the bilateral series.
“After the first match, we now have more idea about India and how they play. We feel we can script a positive result in the second match,” enunciated Shamlan.
The Pakistan national team also suffered a gaffe on Tuesday as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) scrambled to ensure all complications regarding the assistant manager of the Pakistan team, Ashgar Khan, were ironed out after the Police felt it necessary to enquire about the Pakistan national.
“There were some technical issues with Mr. Khan’s visa. The problems were sorted out later,” reported The Telegraph, quoting an AIFF official.