Indian soccer team lacks quality finishers, says veteran coach Mariano Dias – the New Indian Express



Express news service

BHUBANEWAR: Khalid Jamil and Clifford Miranda have shown that Indian coaches can excel at the highest level in the country with the right opportunities and the right training. While Khalid led NorthEast United to the ISL play-offs, Clifford has done a good job during his tenure as FC Goa’s interim coach. Indian Football Federation coach educator Mariano Dias, who is busy leading the AFC B Diploma Coaching Course in Bhubaneswar, believes there are many opportunities opening up for Indian coaches. TNIE met with the former Churchill Brothers coach to talk more about the development of Indian coaches and India’s performance in the ongoing SAFF Championship. Excerpts from the interview:

What is the main objective of this course?

As a former player and coach there are many reasons to join this certifying course. This will help you develop many players and also give you the opportunity to earn a living. In India, football culture is changing rapidly. Many private houses and companies show up with their own football clubs.

As someone who has trained players and coaches, what is the difference between the two?

Teaching players and coaches are two different experiences. When dealing with a player it’s more about creating and shaping a player based on how you want to play and tactics. When dealing with coaches, they need more clarity on the format of the education. Sometimes coaches have a fixed mindset. When working with coaches, you have to teach them while taking their point of view into account.

Is there a fixed methodology when it comes to training players across age groups for the national team?

We are working on it. Right now in our youth organization we have a fixed philosophy and style of play. In particular, in our U-15, U-17 and U-19 age group teams, we have a style and a philosophy. Our coaches and players are therefore gradually adopting this concept. It will take some time to follow the new principles.

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Does AIFF have a database of players and coaches?

Its very important. A perfect database of players and coaches will help you choose the future players of the country. For the past three years, AIFF has maintained a database of each age group team. In our coach education program, we insist that they maintain a database of player profiles.

Are foreign coaches better than Indian coaches?

There is no doubt that foreign coaches have better international experience and less understanding of Indian football and players. I think Indian coaches are in no way inferior to them. Trust the Indian coaches and give them enough time, they will definitely deliver results for the nation.

What should be the role of clubs for the development of football in our country?

For the development of football, clubs are an essential element. Clubs should prioritize grassroots and youth development programs. Imagine, if every club in our country develops a quality player, it will significantly strengthen our national team.

How do you rate India’s performance in the ongoing SAFF Championships?

Our team’s performance was shocking and they could have played better. You should not enter back-to-back draws against low-ranking teams like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We lack quality pavers in our front line-up.

Your experience as a youth development program manager …

We have a lot of talent in our country, particularly in rural areas. We must prepare them scientifically. Exposure to international tournaments will help them understand modern football. It will be better if our junior team plays tournaments against high level teams. They may lose the tournament but will win a lot more.

How do you see Odisha’s sports policy?

It is one of the best in India. Odisha’s government is not spending just on one sport. They invest in many different sports. The State has sporting infrastructures of international level. The soccer fields here are awesome. More than ten junior footballers in the state are on the national circuit. Now is the perfect time to strengthen the club structure to produce more local players for the country.


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