Celta Vigo president has his say on Indian football's rise; 'Establish targets but don't seek immediacy'
Mourino also spoke about Celta Vigo's recent success as he hopes to cut the gap on the teams above them in the league standings.
He has seen La Liga's evolution from close quarters and Celta Vigo president Carlos Mourino believes an interminable grind for success is the key for any nation's rise in the sport. India may be dubbed as a cricket powerhouse due to its wide talent pool, but one can't pigeonhole the nation as a single-trick pony, given the fact that the Indian Super League (ISL) has made giant strides since its inception in 2013.
The growth of the Indian Super League (ISL) has led to India joining the race to become Asian football power. At present, India is enjoying the continental presence in the top-20 bracket in men's football rankings. Overall, India is ranked 104 and the team's best ranking has been 94, achieved in February 1996. But Mourino, who is associated with Celta Vigo for almost two decades, has emphasized working at the grassroots levels and not expecting immediate results.
In qualification for the 2022 World Cup, India finished third in the five-team group behind Qatar and Oman, progressing into the third round of the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers. But what should be India's long-term goals for success at the highest level? Mourino feels the answer lies in "education" which involves training and diet to help a player set the benchmark.
"The first thing that I would do is not give up and don't expect immediate results because that's not the way. I would start by preparing for the future. Considering what your objectives are, I would focus on providing support to young players and infrastructure, facilities and better training conditions as well. But there's one key factor important in all countries... and I'm not referring to India in this case. Education is an aspect that is not considered in many countries. It's very important. A player who plays in a lower category... in a first or second division club, his diet is controlled. All of these aspects help in an individual's growth, which is based on a solid plan," Mourino told Hindustan Times in virtual interaction.
"And it's not about implementing the measures just because the club has told you to do so. It's important to draw up a clear plan which focuses on developments and stick to that plan. Have clear plans because there will be ups and downs. There will be failures but the end result should always be the same. You should establish targets but not seek immediacy. Short-term success is something that I don't support. You should gradually be able to adapt but without losing sight of your objectives," he further added.
CELTA EYE STRONG FINISH THIS SEASON
Mourino also spoke about Celta's recent success in the Spanish league. Currently placed ninth in the table with 32 points, the historic club has picked up momentum after a mediocre start this season. The 'Os Celestes' figurehead also hopes to cut the gap on the teams above them in the league standings.
Celta last year held Barcelona to a 3-3 draw as striker Iago Aspas scored a brace to salvage a point for the Galician outfit. Mourino said the team has gained respect from the opposition clubs following the recent results in the league. They next play Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Metropolitano.
"We started badly this season and managed to earn just one from the first 21 points. I think that was the worst start we have had historically as a club. But we were very confident because we believed that we have a very good team or at least a good group of players," Mourino elaborated.
"We were affected very badly by the pandemic too. It was difficult for us to have a pre-season and that was evident in the first few games of the season. But once we managed to pick up the pace of the league, we began to play better. And other teams started to respect us on the pitch as well. No teams feared Celta before we started getting good results. We are very enthusiastic to make up some ground and reach the teams above us in the points table.
Watch LaLiga Santander - Atletico Madrid vs Celta Vigo on 27th Feb live at 1:30 am, exclusively on MTV India and also on Voot and Jio select Platforms