Wim Koevermans is adamant that his side will show their strength in the final despite the doubts surrounding their ability.
BY AYUSH SRIVASTAVA Follow @ayush_sri on twitter
Wim Koevermans trudged in for the press conference, over an hour late from the prescribed time. Quizzed what had taken him so long, he quipped unapologetically, “We did something more important than a press conference, and that’s training. We had a recovery session and I think that’s more important than a press conference.”
Moving on to the game against Afghanistan, when told about the comments from the assistant coach of the Lions of Khorasan, who said they were technically and physically better than India, the Dutchman responded, “Well its upto them (what they want to say in a press conference) and we can only be judged on the ground. After all that Maldives said, the real fight was fought on the ground. I am happy with whatever it is they say, and in the final it is upto us to show how strong India is.”
When asked if he too preferred playing Afghanistan over Nepal, considering the home crowd that the Gorkhalis would have brought along, to the stadium, Koevermans stated, “I am not thinking like that. They (Maldives) made a big mistake in underestimating any team and we never do it. We never have a favourite team to play against. We play in the final and we are focused on the final. So I say to my colleague of Maldives that perhaps he should have focused on a better plan. He said we were an easy team and that rubs off on to his players. We thought differently and that led to a different team (performance).”
The Indian head coach again rubbished claims that his side were perhaps lucky to still be in the competition, “If you look at the first two games, we should have won them easily. The game against Nepal was kind of a disappointment as we didn’t perform well. All of them were tough games, and the final is also going to be tough.”
Koevermans also felt his team was ready for a physical encounter with Afghanistan, and felt it would be a very different game tactically to the one they played in the semi-final. He opined, “It’s another team and another game. We shall have another approach as it will be a different system they shall be employing, and I am looking forward to the game.”
“But if you are saying that our boys are not physically strong then you are wrong. We may have a few small ones but they are good and it’s a part of the game. Football has high physical demands and intensity but we must not forget to play football which both the teams can and its going to be an interesting game tomorrow,” he continued.
The coach was also happy with the performances of Robin Singh and Izumi Arata, while giving an update on the injury status of the latter. He said, “We are a team from day one I have always said so. Everybody has to do what is necessary and I am pleased whenever any of them even come on as a substitute and do their role. It is not easy to sit on the bench and everyone wants to play but everyday we put a lot of attention on the substitutes as well, to make them ready, as they have to be ready after the whistle and ensure they are sharp when they come on.”
On Arata, he mentioned, “Well he had a bad foul yesterday and he was walking like an old man today! We have many players in many positions and we made the choice of playing him and our plan was to take Mohd. Arif out of the game as he is a good passer of the ball.”
“We did the same in the Nehru Cup, and this was a part of our plan and whenever possible he had to get beyond Arif in attack. According to the tactical plan, he did well. He is strong on the ball and he is capable of an incredible strike with both his feet. Since we have only one day, hopefully it is enough to keep him fit,” he added.
How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.