From clearing the “misconception” about playing like Barcelona to seeking time and support and stating senior India players shouldn’t play in local leagues, Armando Colaco made all the right noises in his first day in charge of the senior national football team.
Colaco met journalists on Wednesday afternoon to talk about his football philosophy with special focus on the World Cup qualifier against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). India play away on July 23 and at the Nehru Stadium here on July 28.
“Youngsters need experience and for that there has to be a beginning. I have a lot of respect for the seniors and they will be called if they are needed,” he said after having left out 12 players from the Asian Cup squad.
Colaco said he has till June 25 for registration and admitted that Chirag United’s Lalkamal Bhowmick and East Bengal’s Baljit Sahni were overlooked and he has requested the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to call them to the preparatory camp which began at the Ambedkar Stadium on Wednesday. “The nucleus of the team will be the one that played in Malaysia (for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers). The Indian Arrows’ team will form the future national squad.”
Colaco iterated that he wants to get the team to play possession football. “I will definitely try and install my way of football. Each coach has his own philosophy,” he said, adding, “I did not mean that I want the Barcelona’s style of play. I just want the national team to play like Dempo.” It is why the squad has eight Dempo players.
His removal of centre-back Anwar Ali was subject to scrutiny but Colaco said he preferred the combination of Gouramangi Singh and Raju Gaekwad. With regard to including ageing duo Sameer Naik and Mahesh Gawli, he said, “Sameer is a senior player and a team-man and Mahesh is one of the best defenders. But, I feel sorry for (the injured) Deepak Mondal.”
However, he concluded with a warning against expectations of instant success. “The complexion of Indian football cannot be changed overnight but anything is possible given the time and right framework.”