He may have quit International Soccer but former India Captain Climax Lawrence stays the mainstay of Dempo SC’s midfield. As Dempo moved closer to another I-League title with a facile win over strong contenders Churchill Brothers, Climax spoke at length to www.the-aiff.com about Dempo’s philosophy, the secret behind the success, the spirit and much more. EXCERPTS:
You have played with equal aplomb with the National Team and various Clubs. How does a player strike a balance between the two?
At the club-level, you have players who are playing together for a longer period of time. They have better understanding among themselves and this helps a lot. But when you represent your country, there are newer players in the team in almost tournament. Hence, you don’t get to play with the same bunch over the years. In that case, a player needs to adjust and develop the understanding. And the faster one does it, the better.
You have been a part of Dempo winning several Championships over the last decade. How do you compare this squad with previous ones?
Every triumph has been special for Dempo. But as I said, the nucleus of the squad has stayed the same for quite a few years now – almost the same set of players and the same coaching and support staff. The bonding has there been for long and that has encouraged us to dream about winning more laurels for the club.
If we go on to win the I-League Championship this season, I’d say, we would only be reaching another goal which we had set for us. It will be another dream coming true.
Pundits often point out that the squad which won East Bengal the ASEAN Cup was the best-ever Indian club side. How do you compare Dempo’s current team with them?
When East Bengal won the ASEAN Cup, they had quite a few Indian superstars in their ranks like Bhaichung Bhutia, Mahesh Gawli, Deepak Mondal, Surkumar Singh in their ranks. It’s hard to make a comparison but Dempo’s current lot also has many quality players. The quality of our foreign recruits stays outstanding – not to forget we have been consistent.
How do you define Dempo’s mantra?
It all boils down to the team spirit and faith in each other’s ability. The fact that all have been here for long have added to the stability and confidence. Conistency has been our hallmark.
…and Armando Colaco?
He should be the perfect example for any Coach in the country. While being on the field he is very strict and off the field he is more of a friend whom you can approach for any problem. He puts his faith on you which gives you a lot of confidence. I’d also like to thank the management for their support.
There are reports that salary for Indian players may cross the crore mark for the upcoming season. What’s your take?
This is the best thing which is happening to the sport. The life-span of a professional footballer stays short. It’s important he’s paid well. Money into the sport would lure youngsters into the sport for sure.
Do you feel that Dempo have already won the I-League?
Absolutely not! We have crucial games ahead. We are not in a position to celebrate right now. It may just hamper our chances. We will be going all out to garner three points in our next match against Sporting Clube de Goa.