I’m learning a lot under Koevermans: Nabi

Debayan Mukherjee

 It’s been eight long years for Syed Rahim Nabi. Since 2004, he has been an integral part of the Senior Indian squad. A day prior to the kick-off of the Nehru Cup, the versatile player, spoke towww.the-aiff.com about the new National Coach, the new philosophy, the new breed of National Team players and much more. EXCERPTS:

Being the defending champions, can India defend the Nehru Cup?
The competition in this edition will be much tougher. You look at the participating teams and you will understand. Cameroon and Syria are very tough teams and you need to respect them. At the same time, you can never be complacent against Nepal and Maldives. We have to put our best foot forward.

How different has National Coach Wim Koevermans’ approach been?
Fitting into a new system will always take time and you need to be patient with both the Coach and the players. In the Preparatory Camp, he has stressed on a new style and we have adapted fast. Take for example the friendly against Pailan Arrows — it was for everyone to see the manner we pressed for the ball when they had possession. In the second half, our passing was much better. I firmly believe we can perform and deliver.

What’s been your assessment of Koevermans?
He is Coach with lot of ideas. The best part stays he just isn’t content in living in the present but thinks about the future as well. His approach has been enlightening. I’m learning a lot under him and believe the same implies to all my teammates. I have been playing for such a long time but some of the minor adjustments he has made to my game have been an education for me.

How do you define the squad?
It’s a perfect blend of experience and youth. The current crop of young players like Alwyn (George) and Manan (Manandeep Singh) are very talented. They have a very bright future ahead and I can foresee that. The best part about the newcomers stay they push the others for a place in the squad. Whenever you have youngsters in the team, you never stay certain of a start. That augurs well for us.