The National Team coaches across all age categories met in Kolkata on Wednesday, a day after the India Senior Men’s Team’s World Cup Qualifier against Bangladesh on October 16, bringing about an exchange of ideas in the City of Joy.
The meeting was attended by Igor Stimac (Head Coach, Senior Men’s Team), Venkatesh Shanmugam (Assistant Coach, Senior Men’s Team), Maymol Rocky (Head Coach, Senior Women’s Team), Floyd Pinto (Head Coach, India U-19 Men’s Team and Indian Arrows), Shuvendu Panda (Head Coach, India U-16 Boys’ Team), Bibiano Fernandes (Head Coach, India U-15 Boys’ Team), Alex Ambrose (Head Coach, India U-15 Girls’ Team), Abhishek Yadav (Director, National Teams, AIFF), Isac Doru (Technical Director, AIFF), and Kushal Das (General Secretary, AIFF).
“It was the first time I met the Men’s National Team coach. Having a small chat with him was very helpful. He is a person who is open to new ideas. We have definitely taken something from here,” said Maymol Rocky.
Rocky, along with Pinto and Fernandes, also met Stimac after the Men’s National Team’s training session ahead of their match against Bangladesh.
“Even when we spoke to him after the training session, he told us how to keep the players active, how to keep them interested, and at the same time, keep the training session short and precise,” said Floyd Pinto.
Shuvendu Panda believes that this interaction between all the head coaches was a unique experience.
“This experience was quite unique for me. This meeting not only helped us to interact with each other but also brought an opportunity to understand the preparation and success stories of all the teams,” he said. “The biggest learning for all the youth coaches was that the Head Coach of Senior men team shared his experiences to prepare the players during transition from youth team to senior team.”
Bibiano Fernandes has recently come under a lot of plaudits for setting up an ultra-attacking side that recently won the SAFF U-15 Championship and qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship. As Stimac is also overseeing a reconstruction process with his team, Bibiano feels that there is much scope for him to learn new things from the Croatian coach.
“I’m happy that our style matches. But meeting Igor was very fruitful. I really wanted to see how he is, when he’s around the players. What he does, how he communicates, and how he goes about his business,” said Fernandes.
The 42-year-old went on to explain that he learnt how Stimac individually feeds information to his players, so that they know exactly what to do during training. However, Bibiano feels that he can take certain ideas, and only implement them in his own manner in his youth team.
“We asked him how his players are always so focused in training. Igor said that he exchanges messages with the players on what they have to do,” he said. “But I perhaps will not be able to do the same, because those are mature players, and my players are still kids, and perhaps the message would not go across. That is why I would prefer to hold a team meeting to explain things to them.”