Isac Doru, the newly-appointed Technical Director, AIFF who has brought in loads of experiences of working alongside Arsene Wenger, said that India needs to work towards approaching a ‘synchronised’ football to reach to the next level in world football.
The 57-year-old football brain, in his first-ever interaction with the Indian media, spoke at length about qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, approach to the game, long-term planning and many more.
How has been your experience in India so far?
First of all, we should congratulate the former head coach and staff for the progression and the game that the team has played. I am feeling privileged to have connected with the All India Football Federation.
I truly feel that Indians have the passion. I’m happy to have worked with young, dynamic, passionate staff and it’s easy to communicate with them.
How can India qualify to reach the FIFA World Cup?
We can’t deny that our major objective is to play in World Cup. After spending 2 weeks in the country, what I can say, realistically, is that we need time to achieve it.
But, on the other hand, India is not a new nation in football. In the 70s, we were one of the top nations of Asia and we have to be proud of that.
Indians have the passion, energy and that’s what is needed to reach there. If all of us work together, the target will be achieved sooner or later. It’s not only the team’s target, it’s a national target and we all have to work together towards it.
What should be our approach to the game to improve?
We have to understand and adapt the modern game. It has to be synchronised, which is the most important aspect of modern football. When we are defending, we have to keep an eye on attacking, and vice-versa. That’s how modern football operates nowadays.
Do you think parallel leagues hinder Indian football’s progress?
Watching the system closely from within, I say it’s not a conflict. At the end of the day, it’s all about Indian football.
We should focus on the quality of the games, not the quantity. Say, if the players run 8.5 km in a game, it’ll be difficult for us in the international games, where a player runs 13.2 km. We have to have a global understanding of all the leagues and we need to work together to match the level.
How do you plan to move forward?
We have to learn from the past. We have to discuss, find the solution and implement the same as a nation. We have to chalk out our principles and work towards a synchronised, possession-based philosophy. I have already sat with different coaches and now I’ll invite the players who played in the 70s.
What I feel is that Indians are very agile. What we need to improve is the coaching system and coach education. Say, in one game, there’re 128 attacking actions and in another game, there’re only 20. Which one will the fan like? India is a fast, dynamic nation and we need to focus on that.
It’s one of the principles and that’s what we should implement across age-groups, especially, the golden age-group comprising U-8s, U-10s and U-12s.
We have laid down the strategic plan for the next 4 years and all of us including Igor (Stimac), other age-group National team coaches, club coaches, and the former players have to sit down and discuss how we should move forward.