Armando Colaco's Team India. Do They Stand a Chance?
Armando Colaco took over the reigns of the Indian football team earlier this year as the interim coach for the World Cup Qualifiers and a few friendlies that have been organised before it.
Now, the preliminary squad that he had selected seems to be young, talented and raring to go but the team that he might put out will most probably be the opposite. I was quite dissapointed when the experienced Renedy Singh was left out of the squad, but i said “Hey, there ‘ll be a 20 year old in his place who can play for 15 more years”, but that might not happen. Instead there may be a guy who has hardly got any game left in him starting just because “He knows the Dempo way of football.”
Now i take up the question, why should a player who is clearly past his prime, start just because he knows the particular “style of play?” Isn’t the purpose of a national team to select the best players of the country rather than select the players a coach knows?
Now the coach has clearly ignored some great talents in the form of Naoba, Denson, Gurjinder Kumar and Anil Kumar. He has instead selected an out-of-form( for quite a while now) Sushil Kumar Singh, an ageing Samir Naik and a weak Steven Dias. For the so-called “youth” in the team, there doesnt seem to be quite a lot if the team that started against the Indian Arrows on the 4th of July starts on the 10th.
Now, to play like Barcelona (the way the AIFF want Indian to play) a team has to have 2 speedy wing-backs, both of whom were there in the preliminary squad called up for the camp(Naoba and Robert). Naoba has been left out and Robert is unlikely to be in the starting line up.
Steven Dias on the flank is not the fastest and tends to crack and get nervous under pressure. Apart from this, he can get easily overpowered by the Qatari’s or any of the West/Central Asians for that matter. Nabi on the other flank is, on the other hand is a superb player who defines the meaning of Total Football. He pops up anywhere and can maintain his composure when under pressure. In the central Mid-field Mehtab Hossain is a good choice. Climax on the other hand is a very bad choice. He is clearly past his prime and i dont see why he is starting. Granted, that he is a good passer of the ball but he is quite unfit and cant really keep up to the speed of high octane pass and move football. A better player in this position is Jewel, who possesses a demonic shot and has really come into his own this past year.
Jeje and Chhetri up front are the best attacking pair in the country. Chhetri plays in a league of his own. Passing, dribbling, heading or even shooting. Its all there. Jeje just needs to keep his head firm and stay calm and composed. Finishing seemed to be his problem in the Olympic Qualifier in Pune, but thats a past. Skilled and fast, he can hold up the ball for Chhetri and as was heard during the Challenge Cup Qualifiers and seen during India’s training sessions, they really do combine well.
The thing that concerns me the most is that while watching Dempo play, it was quite evident that the foreign players had a large role to play in its fluid formation but with Dika probably not starting, it shall be interesting to see who can fill that hole.