One year review: Five talking points of Wim Koevermans’ tenure so far
Dutchman Wim Koevermans has completed one year as head coach of the Indian national team. Sportskeeda lists the five talking points of the Euro 1988 winner’s tenure so far.
The list is in no particular order
Limited opportunities to impose new style
Ever since his appointment, Koevermans has rightly stressed on playing regular international friendlies on FIFA match dates but for one reason or the other that hasn’t happened.
Already in his tenure, three matches have been cancelled without any alternative being arranged. Incredibly, India have played just two international friendlies in 12 months under Koevermans.
So clearly, past mistakes are being repeated by the AIFF and as a result the national team has been going backwards. But more importantly, the lack of regular international matches has denied Koevermans the chance to impose the new style of play which he and technical director Rob Baan had planned.
The arrival of Baan and Koevermans meant that Indian football was set to adopt the Dutch philosophy right from the youth teams to the senior setup.
However, there haven’t been enough opportunities for Koevermans to try out various aspects of the new method at the senior team.
Most players have grown up playing in a 4-4-2 system which requires a direct approach and emphasis is not on keeping possession. Although we have seen the national team play a lot more short passes under Koevermans compared to the Bob Houghton era, the team still isn’t comfortable yet with the new style and that was evident in the defeat to Myanmar in the final 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifier.
Koevermans will continue to struggle to bring in that new style in a concrete way unless India starts playing regular internationals.
One-striker system hasn’t worked
Unlike his predecessors, Koevermans has been starting with just one striker from his very first game and has stood by that in each of his ten matches (including the two unofficial matches against Cameroon ‘B’ in the Nehru Cup).
The 4-4-1-1 system has looked good on some occasions like the opening game against Syria in the 2012 Nehru Cup and the first half of the international friendly against Palestine last February.
But overall, with only Sunil Chhetri upfront, India have lacked bodies in the final third and only looked threatening going forward when Koevermans has put another striker besides skipper Sunil during the second half of some matches. As a result the team has been overdependent on their star striker.