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Koevermans wants India to play tiki-taka football

The Dutchman wants emphasis on possession play, and the use of aerial passes kept to a minimal and even nil, if possible. The system is mastered by reigning World and European champions Spain, and Koevermans is committed to adopt the style as he thinks it can bring the best out of his team.

“Look at Spain, the process (of building a world conquering team) has taken 40 to 50 years. They have only recently started winning cups. Before the 2008 European Championships they didn’t win much,” Koevermans said of Spain, who completed a treble of major international trophies by winning Euro 2012 earlier this month.


Wim Koevermans (left) and Baichung Bhutia during a seminar yesterday.

Spain had also won Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010 after a 44-year drought of major trophies, and Koevermans is convinced World No 163 India will reap rich benefits if they instill a Spanish-like commitment to possession football.

“I’m not comparing (India) to Spain. But even they (Spain) aren’t tall.

“I watched videos of the Indian team. The style of play is not suitable for our players. They give the ball away playing long balls. We must keep the ball on the ground. So we won’t give the ball to the opposition and won’t concede,” added the 52-year-old, who took over from Savio Medeira last month.

“We have quality players. We want a style that will suit the players best. We’ll select good players. Not just physically strong ones. But players who can keep the ball and play,” Koevermans said on the sidelines of a five-day coaching seminar in Navi Mumbai yesterday. Sixty-five coaches from all over India are taking part in the seminar conducted by Koevermans, AIFF’s Technical Director Rob Baan and Technical Director of Regional and Elite Academies Scott O’Donnell.

First test
Koevermans’ first test will be next month’s Nehru Cup, which kicks off on August 22.

“I will get to meet the players before the Nehru Cup. I will get a couple of weeks with them. We’ll try to find a winning style of play.”
Meanwhile, All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das said he is pushing hard to convince I League clubs to release national players three weeks in advance, instead of two, so that they get more time to understand the new coach’s philosophies. “We have requested clubs to release the players three weeks in advance. Wim is a new coach and needs time with the boys. We are not being unreasonable. We will talk to the clubs,” said Das.  

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