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How Michel Salgado’s inspirational leadership might lead Kochi to the Premier Futsal title

With Michel Salgado leading from the front, Kochi might go on and win Premier Futsal.

Michel Salgado
Michel Salgado has been in inspirational form in Premier Futsal League

Mumbai has Giggs. Bengaluru has Scholes. Chennai has Falcao, while Kolkata has Crespo. The biggest name of them all, Ronaldinho Gaucho graced Goa. But out of all these names, the one with the least household appeal is proving to be the most inspirational and effective for his Kochi 5’s team. His name is Miguel Angel Salgado Fernandez, or ‘Michel’ Salgado as he is better known.

With four La Liga titles and two Champions League titles to his name, you’d forgive Salgado for treating Premier Futsal as a two-week holiday tournament in India. But that is far from the case, he still seems to hold the same motivation and determination as he did when he was at the peak of his powers for Real Madrid and Blackburn Rovers.

So how has Salgado really inspired his side (who were said to be the weakest on paper at the beginning of the tournament) to a 4-1 thrashing of Ryan Giggs’ Mumbai and a brilliant come back draw against Chennai, the strongest side on paper?

His endless energy across the pitch, manifested by his constant box to box running. The Spaniard's performances have in fact have geed his teammates to up their game. His performances have been instrumental in getting Kochi to still be in contention coming around their third game of the tournament, and what has been invaluable is his influence beyond the pitch, on the very nature and psyche of the opposition players and the crowd sitting in the stands.

Also read: Premier Futsal League: The day Ronaldinho lit up a firestorm in India

For Salgado makes it an ‘us vs the world’ affair.

Managers, players and coaches all use different techniques to motivate their troops to zone in and concentrate before an important match. But there are few that are as effective as instilling a feeling of being victimised, of making it clear that the whole world might think of them simply as lambs being taken to slaughter, with the responsibility of proving everyone lying solely on them.

Salgado publicly spoke about this after their 4-4 draw against Chennai, referring to how in their first match against Giggs’ Mumbai, the crowd which was filled to capacity with Manchester United fans was against them, while in their second match it was the same case with the people in the stands rooting for the home team – Chennai. “But I am a winner.” He said. “I never like to lose. Even when I am playing a casual game of football with my children, I never like to lose.”

Also read: Futsal: Why it could be the next big thing in India

The same crowd that was booing Kochi and Salgado in parts during the first and second matches was giving his team an ovation come the end of the matches. Because as Salgado said, “they recognise what we have done.”

Of course, they have done it with good skill and tactics too by playing a very tight defensive game, that gave them the opportunity to break forward in numbers and score when in possession of the ball.

The likes of Chaguinha and Gekabert have also provided solidity when needed, and a creative spark to accompany that. But the undisputed general of the team has been Michel Salgado.

And it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them go all the way.

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