Interview with Philippe de Ridder - United Sikkim FC coach
I spoke with my good, old friend Belgian coach Philippe 'Indi' de Ridder, who is currently coaching United Sikkim FC, ahead of the final round of the I-League Division 2 which starts on Monday, March 5.Congratulations in getting into the final round of...
I spoke with my good, old friend Belgian coach Philippe ‘Indi’ de Ridder, who is currently coaching United Sikkim FC, ahead of the final round of the I-League Division 2 which starts on Monday, March 5.
Congratulations on getting into the final round of the I-League Division 2!
How difficult was it for you and your team?
It was difficult to evaluate the real strength and weaknesses of the team before the first round as we played only one serious opponent, Vasco SC, in a friendly and lost it 0-1. When the league started, we had more time to analyse our opponents, our own strength and patch-up our weaknesses. We got stronger match-by-match. The last match against Aizawl FC, I gave all the players who didn’t have a lot of playing time the chance to show what they can do as we were already qualified.
How has the team progressed under your coaching in the last few weeks?
The team is progressing in the right direction. Tactical moves have been implemented, technical skills have improved, modern football vision has been implemented. Unity in the team is building-up. We are working hard, we are not 100% ready yet but good enough to be serious contestants to go to I-League 1!
How are you preparing for the final round? Any injury worries?
Injuries and cards are my major worry in this final round. If the players are spared from it, we have 80% of chances to reach our goal, if not then a 50-50% chance.
Who do you see as your toughest opponents in the final round?
Mohammedan Sporting Club and Royal Wahingdoh SC are really good teams to watch out but will be able to tell more after playing our first two matches and being able to scout all teams properly.
The second-leg of the 2nd Division will be in Gangtok. How important could home advantage be for USFC?
Playing in Gangtok is an advantage. We are used to train on the artificial turf (at the Paljor Stadium), our football is technical. Hopefully, supporters will be there to support us, but a football match stays a football match and you have to win it. If you don’t give your 200% the home ground will make no difference.
How important is Baichung to United Sikkim FC and your as a coach?
Baichung being there is the reason I’m in USFC. We have a common vision and will try our best to improve and raise the club’s level. Implementing new club structures, more discipline and another football vision to players are the first steps. Therefore Baichung, as co-owner of the club, gave me the Manager/Head Coach (English type) responsibilities, the one’s (Arsene) Wenger has at FC Arsenal, the ones I wanted in USFC. This will have a very positive impact, especially next season. Whatever happens, if we qualify or not for I-League 1.
Having Baichung as a player is always an advantage. He has the ‘aura’ to lift up the team when he comes on the field and still is able to give a good performance on the pitch, whatever playtime a coach gives him. Marketing wise, he is the best you can have in India.
USFC is on the right track. ;-)
All the best for the final round!