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India U-16 coach Goutam Ghosh: We need to be consistent

India U-16 national team

India U-16 national team

He was the first-ever player to have scored a hat-trick in the National Football League. Talk about it, Goutam Ghosh, the present Head Coach of the U-16 National Team shakes his head. “We cannot live in the past. The game is about the future generation,” he tells you. “Look at them,” he points out to his wards and then walks away for the practice session.

A couple of hours later with the boys having boarded the bus for their abode, Ghosh sits down to reflect upon AIFF XI’s first home-match against Frenz United, Indonesia which is slated for May 24. In the exclusive interview, he spoke at length about the first match, the mood in the Camp, the home-advantage, his aim in the Tournament and much more.


How according to you did the boys perform in the first Match?
Our boys were not been off to the greatest start. We struggled early on in the first half but as it progressed, we settled down. Towards the end of the first half, we played like ourselves. Even in the second half, we played well for brief spells. We lacked consistency and need to be consistent.
The best part stays that we created three open chances during those periods where we played well and we are drawing inspiration from it. You need to remember, it was our first Away-match.

Are you satisfied with the performance of the Team?
Satisfaction has no limits. This was our first away match – in a different country, on a different type of ground. The boys are playing such a format for the first-time ever. But it’s early days in the Tournament. The Tournament spreads over three months and ideally a Team shouldn’t peak right at the start. History always suggests that Teams who start well in mega-events don’t finish in the same manner.
You need to be patient.

What are the areas you would like to improve upon?
We are working with fifteen-year olds and in such an age-group, there’s scope for improvement in all aspects. So all areas need to be worked upon and we are tirelessly working on it.

After the first match against Frenz United where do you rate the level of the Tournament? Is it tougher than the AFC Qualifiers?
It’s too premature to compare it to the AFC Qualifiers. We have just played one match, that too against the Malaysian U-16 National Team who have qualified for the Final Phase of the AFC U-16 Championship. They had finished ahead of Korea Republic in Group H. But you need more matches to strike a comparison.

How did the boys react after the loss?
Like every Professional Player, they felt sad – that’s the universal sentiment. It’s a learning experience for them. I remember a match when we had lost against an IFA XI while playing for the Tata Football Academy. We were young kids then and had broken down. The late Russi Mody had consoled us saying: “Unless you lose, you won’t be able to savour a win.” His words still rings a bell in my heart.
I need to thank All India Football Federation for providing us such an opportunity. This is a unique Tournament for the U-16 boys.

How much of an advantage matches in Barasat be for the Team?
It’s our home ground! We will be playing on our known turf and are acclimatized to the weather, sentiment, mood and the environment. It’s a Worldwide trend where Home-Teams always enjoy an advantage.
For such an age-group playing at Home is so important. They don’t travel as much as their Senior counterparts. So when they travel abroad, they will take time to settle down.

What stays your target – where do you intend to finish in the Tournament?
Our target is to develop our game against tough opponents – in fact, that is AIFF”s philosophy. We need to gauge whether we have improved from our last stint. That’s how Youth Development is run.
We are striving for pole position – we intend to finish at the top. That’s what is being aimed at AIFF.

(Interview & Report courtesy AIFF Media)