During the current off-season, while many Indian footballers are soaking up the sun on an exotic holiday abroad or drinking extra strong cups of coffee to help them stay up the night, to watch the explosive action of the FIFA World Cup, a group of I-League stars decided to enroll on an AFC “C” Licence course in Goa.
Sporting Clube de Goa’s Beevan D’Mello gave his thoughts on the recently ended course which he attended.
What were your initial thoughts when you heard about the course?
I heard about the course on-line through the Football Players Association of India. My immediate reaction was that this sounds very interesting. I called up a few of my close colleagues in the game to discuss the idea. They were very excited to sign up, though had prior engagements, but I still decided to go ahead.
Why did you decide to participate in the Coaching course while still playing?
The course was being held in Goa so it was very convenient for me; although I did I cut short my holiday in Dubai to attend. Some things are worth pursuing and this is one of them as I feel a player’s career is short and one has to keep the future in mind.
What are the new things that you learned from the course?
There were actually a lot of new ideas I took home from the course. It was very beneficial for coaching youth and I may add that this was not the way we were taught to play football when we were younger. Football is continuously evolving and so must the methodology at the grassroots. For example, we often see young players playing with size 5 balls, but we were instructed to ensure youngsters train with age appropriate equipment.
Has the course increased your interest in coaching as a career?
Yes definitely! I am still only 27 so I hope to be playing for many more years, but this has strengthened my interest for coaching. We got to train younger players and make a real difference in their lives which is something I enjoyed and found highly rewarding.
Did the course live up to your expectations?
The course lived up to my expectations and more. Actually before signing up for the course I felt it would be pretty easy, but it was actually very challenging and has made me more respectful of all my coaches right from childhood. A lot of planning has to be done to conduct a successful session.
Do you feel a good player can make a good coach?
I believe that a good player can become a good coach, because he can showcase good technique which is an important part of coaching. There are also other attributes such as communication and organizational ability which a good player will have to possess to transform into a good coach. We have seen so many examples of great players who have not lived up to expectation when making the transition into coaching, at the same there are born leaders who excel.
Would you recommend the course to other fellow professionals?
Yes, I would encourage as many Indian professional footballers as possible to sign up for the course. For India to participate at the World Cup one day we need a lot of good coaches at the grassroots and this is one way that we can give back to the game and the country. Rob Baan’s Lakshya plan is a good model for us to follow.
Is there anything you would like to add regarding the course?
I would like to applaud the AIFF and FPAI for giving us this wonderful opportunity and also thank our instructor Sir Marcus (Pacheco) and Mariano Dias who assisted him, for both having patience with us. The group had a lot of fun while learning at the same time.
Finally, who are you supporting in the ongoing World Cup and what is your prediction?
I was supporting Spain, but since they have gone home early, my support has shifted to Argentina, as I am fan of Lionel Messi. I believe Brazil is the favourites as the home support can come in handy during the later stages. Also I feel Netherlands can succeed if they continue with their current lively form.