“It provides us a platform to compete and play with the best in the world and that will help us develop massively before we take on the likes of Turkmenistan in October”. That’s when I had to sit them down and tell them that they should not take the shouting personally. “But in strength and fitness, we are not inferior and we can improve upon it. It is going to be a great learning process for the Indian players”, said Chhetri, the most expensive Indian player in the league as he was snapped by FC Mumbai City for Rs 1.2 crore in the player auction in July.
The finalists of last season had pinned down to John Arne Riise as their marquee signing before the Norwegian chose to join Delhi Dynamos instead. You have to show much more confidence and often they will not ask foreign players to give the ball to them. “Not only did we get good facilities to train there but also quality matches under our belt”, Anelka said.
Kerala Blasters coach and former England manager Peter Taylor also said that Indian players showed too much respect to him and other players. I thought it is better for the foreign players to adjust and acclimatize to the conditions and we did not go overseas for pre-season training.
Sandesh Jhinghan has been hailed as one of the country’s top defensive prospects over the last couple of years.
“Last year we didn’t start well and this season, playing in front of our fans, we want to do well as a good result will boost our confidence. What we found sometimes was that they were very quiet and tame”. “I hope in five to ten years India will be a big name in world football”, he said. “I’m looking forward to the experience of playing in Kochi”.
“We have Brazilians because I know they will be able to implement my ideas”. There are instances when an Indian player is in a unsafe position, but he will pass to a foreign teammate because they are perceived to be better with the ball. Marquee players and select Indians also spoke. While the most recent drubbing against Iran was expected, the away no-show against lowly Guam came as a major jolt, one which dealt a severe blow to India’s aspirations of clawing back in the pecking order of Asian football.
Then there is Zico as coach and I can not say no to him.
“I don’t think a footballer would have reached this level if he was afraid of making mistakes”.
“I’m trying to give the Indian footballers at Pune the opportunity to express themselves by not admonishing them when they err on the pitch”. The legendary Brazilian defender has company with the likes of Florent Malouda and John Arne Riise in the ranks.
“We have a lot of ambition. With matches every three days and possibility of injuries, it will help”, said Taylor. “I want to help them”.