Wim hasn’t let pressure creep in: Francis Fernandes

Debayan Mukherjee

Francis Fernandes is an ‘all rounder.’ The 25-year old midfielder has the ability to fit in almost any role in the team and stays one of the mainstays in Wim Koevermans’ team. In an interview with www.thew-aiff.com, Francis spoke on his role, the ‘adjustments’ on the field, the match against Nepal and the next one against Cameroon. EXCERPTS:

Francis Fernandes passes during the India vs Nepal match

How would you describe your role in the side?
My role in the side is that of an all-rounder. I have to feed Sunil Chhetri upfront and come down when required to help Lenny (Rodrigues) and Mehtab (Hossain). I also have the responsibility to distribute and switch it to the flanks.

Is adjustment an issue for you owing as you keep changing your position in the match?
I can adjust to any position and meet the demands of the coach. In the Indian team I am starting in the hole behind Chhetri. This is something new for me. But I have no inhibitions. Every step is a learning one for me. I can adjust to any situation and play accordingly. As and when the strategy changes, I abide by it.

How difficult is it to switch to different formations in the course of a match?
I don’t find it that difficult. At Salgaocar I had to play in different positions according to the need of the team. I’m habituated to it. The support from the Seniors, eg, from someone like Syed Rahim Nabi helps be grow in confidence.

What did the coach say after the draw against Nepal?
He was very relaxed and stressed anything can happen in a match. He did not let pressure creep within the team. The rain affected our style of play a bit and passing was difficult. If the weather stays the same, we need to be flexible and adopt a different style in our next match.

What’s your assessment of Cameroon as a side?
They are the highest ranked Nation in the tournament. It’s obvious we have to be on our toes right from the kick-off. It’s a crucial match for us. They are physically very strong and boast of some very good players. We will discuss them prior to the match.