India coach Wim Koevermans left ruing missed chances; criticizes I-League schedule
Indian coach Wim Koevermans was left ruing missed chances as 10 man India were held to a 2-2 draw by a young Bangladesh side.
Reflecting on his team’s performance, he said: “Another exciting match against Bangladesh. We scored three times today, but it was still a draw” quipped the Dutchman. “Our performance, was [good] after a shaky start. We picked it up and scored a good goal. We even had a few chances after that to finish off the game.
“Of course, Bangladesh played good football and put us under pressure. We were 1-2 down, in a home game, and we didn’t play great. We tried to build and pressure, and we had some chances, but it’s unbelievable that we missed them.”
He didn’t however, forget to pay tribute to mercurial striker Sunil Chettri, who scored the equalizer for India in injury time. ” I think the class and quality of Sunil came up again, he scored an unbelievable goal. We started to go for the 3-2 and that nearly cost us, because of the double yellow card for Subrata [Pal].”
Giving his verdict on the team’s performance, he said: “Overall, I expected a better team today, I’m not really pleased with our performance. We created enough chances to score. Overall, a draw wasn’t what we expected at the end of the day.”
Questions were raised about the coach’s strategy for the game, to which he responded: “The strategy was to get the ball and go forward. Once we got the ball, we created better chances than them. We played at a high pace, created very good chances, and we should have scored a second goal.”
India’s brand of counter-attacking football came under the microscope next, with the coach being quizzed about India’s style, whether they were aiming to play possession based, or counter-attacking football. His reply suggested that India were a team capable of playing both styles equally well, depending on the situation.
“We are always very good on the counter attack, that’s for sure.” he said “But you also need to keep the ball” he added. ” We played many games where we created many, many chances from keeping the ball. If you saw the game against Nepal, you’ll notice we played very good football. We kept the ball for long periods. We can do it. But today it was not like we were creating one chance after the other. We are capable of doing it, but today it was not constantly done.”
Koevermans has been outspoken in the past about India’s need to play more games in order to climb the FIFA rankings. When asked how many games India should play in a year, ideally, he directed his anger at the I-League schedule saying: “I wasn’t completely happy that we had a full I-League program before this game. We have to build. It’s not ideal if some players arrive 2 days before the match starts. I’m not saying this is an excuse. We have to play as much as possible, whenever we have the chance.”Published 06 Mar 2014, 11:54 IST