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India coach Stephen Constantine: Wish all clubs had access to Sports Science

India coach Stephen Constantine

As the Indian national team prepare for the forthcoming 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier match against Laos, National Coach Stephen Constantine feels Indian football would benefit hugely if the clubs had an “access to Sports Science.”

In a freewheeling interview to AIFF Media, Constantine speaks at length about the prime focus in the camp, the fitness levels of the footballers, use of Sports Science in modern football, new faces in the camp and much more.


How is it going in the Camp?
The boys are working hard. We have a few more days to prepare so we can afford not to rush.

What are you stressing on?
The lack of conditioning always needs to be addressed. As we now have more days we can at least do more work on physical part. That’s primarily the focus – testing the levels of fitness.

How do you rate the fitness levels of the boys?
Not all Indian Clubs have an access to a Sports Scientist. That makes the job of the Club Coaches all the more harder and it also makes it difficult for the Players. Most of the injuries which a Player sustains happen some 7-10 days after they have left the National Camp. It’s because they train at a much higher level with the National Team but when they go back to their Clubs the level drops. That’s when they are susceptible to injuries.
It will be hugely beneficial for Indian Football if the Clubs have access to Sports Science or at least a high level Fitness Coach.
Bengaluru FC are a good example. The boys are regular at the gym doing the extra bit, there is a Sports Science Coach and physically, they are in a better condition (than most others) when they report to the Camp. Things which we do at the National Camp do not surprise them.

There are quite many new faces in the Camp.
We didn’t have much choice. Off the 26 whom we selected, 11 are busy with their respective Clubs for the AFC Cup commitments. Hence, we decided to bring in some Players whom we have been tracking to see how they train and respond and understand their attitude.
The Players from Mohun Bagan would report to the Camp on the morning of the 25th (May 25) while Bengaluru FC Players would be assembling on the morning of the 28th (May 28). The Club had scheduled an Awards nite but they have been understandable enough and have advanced it by a day keeping in mind the National Team’s commitments. I need to thank them for that.

The list of players who have reported to the India Camp is as follows:

Subrata Paul, TP Reheneesh, Albino Gomes

Narayan Das, Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Augustine Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Fulganco Cardozo

Francis Fernandes, Issac Vanmalsawma, Halicharan Narzary, Seityasen Singh, Vinit Rai, Dhanpal Ganesh, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Anthony de Souza, Lalrindika Ralte, Md. Rafique, David Lalriamuana

Sumeet Passi, Jackichand Singh

The following three players would be reporting to the National Camp on May 25:
Pritam Kotal, Pronay Halder, Jeje Lalpekhlua

The following seven players would be reporting to the National Camp on May 28:
Amrinder Singh, Keegan Pereira, Rino Anto, Alwyn George, Udanta Singh, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Sunil Chhetri

CK Vineeth was also summoned for the Camp but won’t be able to report to the Camp for an injury.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be joining the squad in Laos.

A squad of 23 will fly from Delhi to Laos on the morning of May 30.

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)