Indian Football: Interview with Ron Sanyal, a coach
An interview with Arunava (Ron) Sanyal, an International FIFA “A” Licensed Coach.
Joydeep : Throw some light on your childhood days . How did your interest in football emerge ? When did you think of football as your career ?
Ron Sanyal : I started my schooling in St. Lawerence High school in Calcutta. They had a good sports program. I excelled in Field Hockey & Soccer. Our gated community at Ballygunge Circular Road known as (Pathhar Khoti) had a nice field where the neighborhood kids played soccer, field hockey and Cricket. The most enjoyable adventure was playing soccer in the rain and slip siding in the mud. As a result, my mother would be very upset and my father would smile from a distance. Since I was the younger son and a little spoilt, my Father sent me to Sainik School located in Purulia. That is where I got lot of opportunities to excel in sports.
Joydeep : Can you tell us the process of obtaining a coaching license ? Our readers might be interested to know the process. Can a person without any first class football playing experience go on to be a coach? Are there any restrictions ?
Ron Sanyal : I live in USA. Interesting thing here is that you don’t have to be a National player to be a Coach. Everybody who wants to coach has to start with ‘E ‘ License exam and background check. Then you as you progress with years of experience, you have to take the D, C , B and A License test.
Joydeep : What is the “ special thing “ about Brazilian soccer which makes it stand apart from the rest of the world.
Ron Sanyal : It is the Soccer culture deeply rooted in their DNA’s. They have a science and infrastructure to support & promote the pool of profession level players. In other words, the Brazilian community sees this as an ticket out of poverty and enjoying the affluent life. They start early at young age and are selected in a Soccer club for potential rising stars. They are well taken care of by the club including a little stipend.
Joydeep : You have had an extensive coaching experience . Please tell us about your tenure as the head coach CASL : Buccaneers.
Ron Sanyal : Capital Area Soccer league (CASL) team, I became the head Coach of U-7 Boys team till U-16. We used to lose all the games in the beginning. Then I developed a strategy ( Conditioning, Nutrition, Discipline, Counseling, Encouraging, Sportsmanship, Rewarding the team whether they win or lose, Bonding like a family, Never blame the Goal Keeper and no one person is a super star, all the team members are Superstars.) It took three years to build the team. We won all the games, tournaments and State Cup Championships. I coached them for 9 years (18 seasons) and encouraged them to go to college. Majority attended with few exceptions.
Joydeep : Please tell us about Your new project Brazilian Soccer Connection Inc. Do you see such an initiative being a success in India .
Ron Sanyal : Yes, it’s definitely a wonderful opportunity. I observed a recent TV show (Mohua) about poor kids picked up by their soccer talent by an Indian Coach in a soccer camp. Two Brazilian guests appeared and coached them. As a test they played with Mohan Bagan and lost by 2-0 if memory serves me right. That shows what these kids are capable of if nurtured in the right direction.
Joydeep : Education and Sports are inter related . How can these two avenues be combined so that there can be an all round development of a child plus their interest in sports grow .
Ron Sanyal : Education is the first step to eliminate poverty & promote peace throughout the world. Just imagine providing a professional career in sports. My proposal would be to have residential sports academy where they get to learn free and play the sports at the same time. We have to fund the Sports academy like that. The model to follow would be like a combination of Military Academy and European & Brazilian Sports Club. Best of both Worlds!
Joydeep : Please describe your project about opening up a soccer Academy in Kolkata . Do you have a feel about the football culture in Kolkata ? How do you plan to do it .
Ron Sanyal : Calcutta is the Mecca of Soccer. The passion is priceless! However, the Star/Famous Indian National Team ex- players did advise me to build the Academy outside of Bengal. They narrated a famous story about “Four Kakra’s in a basket”. However, I grew up in Calcutta and will defy all odds to do something for Bengal. I owe that to my parents and teachers. We have To get FIFA involved and some Indian, European and Brazilian businessman or Clubs. Of course we have to get blessings of AIFA and Hon. Praful Patel.
Joydeep : What changes do you think Indian Football should incorporate if it is to be successful . Do you have any plans of coaching In India ?
Ron Sanyal : First of all we need to have a Sports Infrastructure. Also, to start showing professional soccer as a lucrative Career. Times have changed. You don’t have to be a Doctor, PhD, Engineer, Pharmacist, Lawyer or Politicians for a career. Professional soccer player can earn more than the professionals mentioned above.
Yes! I would love to coach in India. However, my first priority is to recruit talents and give them opportunities to excel. My focus is to build a pool of professional players. Coaching is a long term project but in India every Club replaces their coaches annually to please the politics of club members. It takes time to build a winning team. It took me three years of dedication to have a respectable performance. It is not an instant coffee. You have to plant the seeds, water them and it will yield a bountiful harvest.
Joydeep : What are your thoughts about India’s prospects in AFC Cup 2011 .
Ron Sanyal : We are not there yet. Might have few surprises and learn from it as an eye opener.
Joydeep : What developments should we need in the present club culture existing in India?
Ron Sanyal : Infrastructure, dedicated members, patient funding, less interference from politics. Rome was not built in one day!
Joydeep : What are you future plans ?
Ron Sanyal : At this present time, I am seeking support from knowledgeable sports journalists/enthusiastic people like Mr. Arunava Chowdhuri to provide me with the moral support to defy all odds and to do something meaningful in Calcutta. God Bless the Soccer enthusiastic people of the world!