AIFF XI look to find their ‘rhythm’ against PVF Vietnam
AIFF XI take on PVF Vietnam in the U-16 Asian Champions Trophy on Saturday
BARASAT: Define rhythm. Is it confined only to musical notes?
“We haven’t found our rhythm as yet,” quips AIFF XI Head Coach Goutam Ghosh as he refers to his Team’s two back-to-back losses in the Asia Champions Trophy. On Saturday, at the Barasat Stadium, his Team, represented by AIFF’s Kalyani Regional Academy Boys take on PVF Vietnam, the current Group A Leaders who sit pretty on six points from two matches. The kick-off is at 6.35pm and the match will be telecast live on DD Sports.
You turn to Ghosh. “We need to get back our rhythm,” he stresses.
You ponder. This is the U-16 National Team which had won the U-16 SAFF Championship against all odds in Kathmandu in September 2013. They were then dubbed as ‘Little Arsenal’ by the NRIs in Kuwait in the AFC U-16 Qualifiers where they drew Tajikistan U-16, beat Lebanon U-16 and Bhutan U-16 before narrowly going down to hosts Kuwait U-16 in the decider.
The string of passes, the ability to play it all in one-touch, the penchant for playing it in open spaces and chasing, the pressing, the shape, the organisation reminds you of the glory days which promised so much. You identify, something, somewhere is missing.
Ghosh insists, “rhythm.”
At the Barasat Stadium, Scott O’Donell, Technical Director, AIFF Academies, supervises the Training session under the lights.
“I had a brief chat before Training asking them to have confidence in themselves,” O’Donell, also the Director, Coach Education, AIFF tells www.the-aiff.com.
“During Training, we focussed on keeping things simple, maintaining our shape and staying compact when we don’t have possession, and being positive when we get the ball, and improving the support for the man in possession,” he adds.
You understand, it’s all about sticking to the basics. You further understand, the rhythm ought to be back soon. It should!
“They are a good bunch of boys and they responded very well. They are eager to learn and it is always very satisfying as a Coach when you see the boys trying to implement what you have asked them to do,” O’Donell maintains.
The boys were all ears to O’Donell during the session. From the sidelines, you could feel the spring in the steps.
How tough will it be against PVF Vietnam?
“No match is easy. We always respect our opponents. When you look back at our first two matches, you see us not being able to capitalise on our chances. But there’s no point crying over spoilt milk. We need, and are looking ahead,” Ghosh states.
O’Donell opines the boys need to “learn from their mistakes.”
“They will make mistakes but that is fine as long as they are learning from their mistakes,” he pronounces.
“PVF Vietnam are the current Group Leaders. The manner in which they dismissed their opponents in their first two matches speaks about their capability and confidence,” Ghosh reflects.
You sit and watch. The practice session gets better and better. At times, those string of passes are back; the very next time, there’s a through-pass which foxes all and finds the Striker all in the clear; and the very next minute, there’s that unmistakable curler which floats over the Wall into the net.
Ghosh claps to encourage his wards; O’Donell nods in appreciation.
Rhythm – that’s the key word at the moment; the masterkey. And it's not just confined to musical notes.
The kick-off against PVF Vietnam on Saturday (May 31) is at 6.35pm. The Match will be telecast live on DD Sports.