Photo of North East United FC coach Gerard Nus(Twitter)
Photo of North East United FC coach Gerard Nus(Twitter)

ISL training grounds could lead to injuries, says NorthEast coach Nus

With 11 teams in Goa, good training grounds was always going to be a problem. The league started identifying and working on getting pitches ready in August. ISL teams were asked to choose training venues in September.
By Dhiman Sarkar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 25, 2020 09:54 PM IST

NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) coach Gerard Nus has said the poor quality of training pitches in Goa could lead to injuries in ISL7.

“The training pitch…as far as I know many teams are struggling to have good surfaces for practice. The match, they have good conditions, no complaints about it but training pitches I heard from many coaches, (for) many sides are not ideal,” said Nus, the competition’s youngest coach at 35, on Wednesday.

“What I heard is that many clubs, they are sharing the pitch with local sides and obviously when you have just one grass (pitch) for training, it is not enough because you have to train there everyday. No matter what you do, even if you have 100 people working on it after a training session to make it right for the next day, no matter what you do, it is going to be tough.

“Also, here it is so hot, the pitch cannot be in any way good for high level football. If you want to have quality football you need to have the best conditions as possible. Training ground definitely is one of the things that I think deserves attention from all of us because we want our teams to show good football and when you have good training pitches that definitely helps a lot,” said Nus one day before NEUFC play Kerala Blasters. Nus began ISL7 with a win against heavyweights Mumbai City FC on Saturday.

With 11 teams in Goa, good training grounds was always going to be a problem. The league started identifying and working on getting pitches ready in August. ISL teams were asked to choose training venues in September.

“The league has done a lot of work and deserves credit for it especially because it was raining in Goa even in October. But the grounds made available were basically Maidan pitches often with no proper drainage,” said an official of another team. The official did not want to be quoted given the sensitive nature of the issue.

The official said teams are talking among themselves to split cost to get other grounds practice ready so that their main training pitches can be spared the daily pounding. “But talks are at a preliminary level now,” said the official. So far, only Kerala Blasters have taken an extra training ground.

“All teams are going to struggle”

Nus said the main reason for injuries though would be the forced long beak due to hard lockdowns to combat Covid-19. Speaking on the need to rotate the squad, the Spaniard said: “I think all the teams are going to be struggle with injuries no matter how good you try to recover from the games….The main issue is long time without training properly, without football. That has obviously made everybody more weak and when you are weaker, you have more chance to have injuries.

“At the same time, you do not have much time to rest from one game to another so teams are going to have to rotate…It is gonna be a huge task for the coaches, the staff to manage this in the best way possible.”

Before ISL7 began on November 20, ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas and Juan Ferrando, his counterpart at FC Goa, had shared their concerns about injuries. “We will need to rotate more than other season,” Habas had said. Given that players were off training for nearly seven months, Ferrando said on Tuesday that pre-season training, normally for six-seven weeks, should have been of 10-12 weeks this time. Most teams got around four weeks with some players such as Jamshedpur FC’s central defender Stephen Eze playing in Tuesday’s 1-2 loss Chennaiyin FC after four days of training following mandatory quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Going into Wednesday’s game between Mumbai City FC and FC Goa, Michael Soosairaj (ATK Mohun Bagan), Raynier Fernandes (Mumbai City FC), Thoiba Singh (Odisha FC), Peter Hartley and Narender Gahlot (Jamshedpur FC), who replaced Hartley, have had to be substituted due to injuries.

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