THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Armando: “Doors on Seniors aren’t shut for ever”



Expectations are running high after Armando Colaco took over the reins of the National Team. Fully aware of the challenge ahead, Armando, by far the most successful Indian Coach in recent times, feels everyone need to be a bit patient. In a freewheeling interview to, Armando says the doors for the Senior Players haven’t been shut for ever.

How much different is it to coach the National Team from a club side?

Both are entirely different. The National Team is a much more difficult bunch to handle. In a club the entire squad stays with you all throughout the season whereas in a National Team, there are footballers from different clubs and all parts of the country. It’s not possible for the National Team Coach to keep a tab on them over the year. Moreover, you have to know their psyche and then work with them.

How much difficult was it to keep some Big Names out of the list of 42 Probables for the World Cup?

I have full respect for the Seniors and am aware of their contribution for Indian football. Obviously, it was a very difficult decision for me. I relied on present form and building a team for the future. Players who have played well in the I-League have been preferred over others. Hence, some Big Names had to be left out. If we are to look at the future, we need to concentrate on the Youngsters who performed well in AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur.

Does that mean the National Team doors have been shut on the Seniors for ever?

I have never said so and neither do I believe so. The list of 42 Probables is for a specific time period with a specific plan. Anyone who performs well after that can easily walk into the National Team. Doors on the Seniors haven’t been shut for ever.

What would you focus on when the boys assemble for the Camp?

We would focus on keeping the ball. Ball possession defines the character of a team and invariably scripts the fate of a match. But it’s not easy to play ‘simple yet breathtaking football.’ We will have special sessions with the ball and the conditioning will be done at the same time.

How do you rate India’s chances against UAE in the World Cup Qualifiers?

They are a tough unit no doubt who prefer to play physical football. There are many foreigners who have naturalised for the UAE National Team. After all, India did lose to them 5-0 in one of the practice matches ahead of the Asian Cup. We also need to keep in mind the climatic conditions won’t favour us much when we play them in July.

(AIFF Press Release)