Interview: Nepal Coach Thomas Flath

Nepal exited the South Asian Championship at the group stage. had the chance to talk to Thomas Flath, the team's German coach about what went wrong.

Nepal finished third in Group A with three points from three games. The win came against Pakistan as co-hosts Maldives and India topped the group.  

It has been reported by the Nepal media about the instability of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and the problems arising from it. What do you think about it and does it affect your players?

Within the team there is no problem. I am the head coach of Nepal and I made a clear principle for the team to be aside from the politics. If you don’t have a league and the clubs are not at all happy with the association, there would be problems and it is affecting my work. But I can’t make that responsible. It is not my duty. However, the football association gave me full support. They provided everything that I have asked for. I did not request something which is unattainable and unreasonable. For my work, the association gave full support. However, the problems in the association need to be solved in order to make progress.

What do you think of the players? Have they improved throughout the tournament?

I can’t say much about the tournament. But they have progressed through the whole period after I joined the team. One thing to note is that they have to execute to a level much higher than they have in the tournament. They have done it superbly. Mistakes belong to the game and we were punished for our mistakes in the tournament. Overall, if we consider, in terms of experience the players have become more self confident.

How about the training for the AFC Challenge Cup?

I will give the players a 10-days break as some of the players have not seen their wives and kids for two months now. I will invite other players to join the squad including players who could not play in this tournament. We have seven under 19 players and some 20 and 21 year old players and they are doing well. I have used the 20 players in the squad and I am very pleased with their performance.

What do you think of Nepal's chances at the AFC Challenge Cup?

We are an outsider and a minnow. We can’t challenge like the bigger teams. However, we will try to minimize the mistakes. Hope our number one goal keeper will join the team and we will play the best football. I don’t look at the results now and if it’s a good performance the results will come soon. It should be noted that India will also progress by the time for the AFC Challenge Cup and we have to improve and develop the self esteem of the players.

As a team Nepal played some outstanding football. But the finishing touches never came? What’s your opinion about that?

I can’t’ expect to train the strikers. I was upset with [Jumanu] Rai in the first half today. He was too selfish and he did not play for the team. I had a talk with him during the half time and told him the goals will come and he had to wait patiently. We have to develop strikers to improve the goal scoring.

Why did you shift to become a coach again?

Well, I was a coach in South Africa before I was asked by German FA to become the grass root development programmer. I want more of a challenge and wanted to smell grass again. This is my home. I like to manage football.

What do you think of the football in Maldives?

It has improved well in the last few years. The quality of football has improved, the facilities have improved, lots of volunteers and foreign coaches are interested to be in the Maldives.

The national team has played good football and some outstanding players are in the team. Ali Ashfaaq, Ismail Mohamed, Fazeel and Thoriq are some outstanding players. Maldives is a cup favorite, but it has to be noted that in the finals, India will be completely different. They would play with a different mind game. It is nice to see everyone working together.