Wim needs to be given more time

Debayan Mukherjee

As far as giving the youngsters a chance to strut their stuff in International Friendlies is concerned; Former India Captain Bhaichung Bhutia and India National Team Coach Wim Koevermans stay on the same page.
Bhaichung Bhutia (extreme right) at the AIFF Technical Committee Meeting in Football House
On the sidelines of the All India Football Federation Technical Committee Meeting held at Football House, Bhutia, who is the Chairman of the Committee, hailed the Dutch Coach’s Team selection ahead of India’s two International Friendlies against Philippines and Nepal on November 15 and 19 respectively.

“It’s good that we have so many new faces in the Squad for the two upcoming International Friendlies,” Bhutia told www.the-aiff.com.

“Friendlies are the right platform where you can experiment and give youngsters a run. Results I feel are not always the topmost criteria. Wim has done exactly that,” added the Sikkimese Sniper. Koevermans made as many as ten changes to the Squad that reached the final of the SAFF Championship in Nepal this year. Of the ten five are uncapped.

In fact, since the Dutchman — a 1988 European Championship winner with the Netherlands — took over the reins of the Indian National Team, the likes of Arnab Mondal, Robin Singh, Dawson Fernandes, CK Vineeth, Arata Izumi have made their debuts.So much so that as many as ten Players have made their International Debut for India since Koevermans took over the reins of the Indian National Team.

“It’s important for the players who are doing well in the National League to get recognition and be given a chance to prove their mettle. Friendlies provide the perfect platform for them to spread their wings. I am glad that is happening,” Bhutia stressed.

Koevermans’ contract was extended till October next year by the Technical Committee. In his capacity as the Chairman of the Body, Bhutia said that there is no reason to lose faith on the Dutch tactician right now and the decision has been taken in the best interests of the National Team.

“I have always maintained that Wim has been unfortunate. He took over at a time when the Team was in a transition period. Seven-eight Senior players had hung up their boots and it was a new team at his disposal,” Bhutia said.

“Shorter camps didn’t help either. For International Competitions like AFC Qualifiers and World Cup Qualifiers we need longer Camps. It takes time for a new Coach to get his combination right and implement the philosophy. He got very little of the time. “Clubs here have to realise that the National Team is priority No.1. It is with the prosperity of the National Team that these Clubs will benefit directly. More success of the National team, more number of sponsors for the Clubs too. So they have to release players for National Camps,” Bhutia maintained.

Bhutia added that it will be beneficial for India if the clubs and the National Team work closely together like in Germany and Spain. “When Players assemble for short camps with different playing styles in clubs, the job of the Coach becomes all the more difficult. It will help if the Clubs and National Team follow the same philosophy.”