Wim Koevermans, the new National football coach, promised his “best” as he took a realistic view of his assignment.
He spoke of taking Indian football “forward” and assured he would not look to make sweeping changes in the style of play or the composition of the support staff. “It's a great honour and privilege and I am looking forward to the job. It's an interesting and challenging task to develop Indian football and see it moves up in the FIFA rankings,” said Koevermans, who succeeds Bob Houghton.
Known for his keen eye to spot talent, the Dutch observed, “A big part of my job is to work with the coaches at the academies and produce better players.”
He also insisted that he would not tamper with the prevalent style of play. “We would start with a certain style that would go with the international football standards. It is natural for any team to adapt the best possible style depending on the ability of the players. In international football, teams keep the ball very well. That's the way forward. It increases the chances of winning. It is fun to keep the ball.”
With the AIFF supporting stand-in coach Savio Medeira as his deputy, it was apparent that Koevermans, appointed for two years, was in no hurry to have someone of his choice in that position. “I have confidence in the staff available. I'll meet the players, assess them and not make changes initially,” Koevermans assured.
The national coach will travel to Muscat for the AFC under-22 qualifiers to apprise himself of the young talent. “In my country, young players are given a chance if they meet the international standards. So shall we. I like pressure. It is healthy and helps to perform better. It is part of the job,” he said.
Koevermans confessed he was he was trying to study Indian football as much as he could. “I have seen footage (of SAFF Cup), interacted with officials and coaches and I am positive I can manage,” said the chief coach. He would snatch a few weeks of preparation before the Nehru Cup scheduled from August 23 to September 2.
He promised to tackle the vexing issue of clubs versus federation.
“Clubs own the players. I will meet the officials and convince them it is good for them if their players get to play international football.”
The 51-year-old Koevermans will assume duty on July 1.