Koevermans takes over as India coach

Wim Koevermans was appointed the new national football coach on Friday. The Dutch has signed a two-year contract with the All India Football Association (AIFA) and hoped to take the Indian football “forward.”

Koevermans, who was part of the Dutch squad which won the 1988 EURO under Rinus Michels, said he needed to study India football and would travel to Muscat for the AFC under-22 qualifiers to acquaint himself with the promising juniors. He will assume duty from July 1.

“I have seen the footage of SAFF Cup and I have interacted with officials and coaches. I am positive I can manage. My job is to travel and work with the coaches at the academies and produce better players,” said Koevermans, whose first assignment will be the Nehru Cup to be held from August 23 to September 2.

“It’s a great honour to be here, It’s an interesting and challenging task to develop Indian football and see it moves up in the FIFA rankings.”

Koevermans did not support the idea of inviting strong teams for Nehru Cup. “We should play teams we can beat. It should be challenging but not if we don’t have a chance of winning.”

The 51-year-old chief coach said he would not significantly overhaul the existing style of play of the Indians.

 “We would start with a certain style that would go with the international football standards. It is natural for any team to adapt the best possible style depending on the ability of the players. In international football, teams keep the ball very well. That’s the way forward. It increases the chances of winning” said Koevermans, who succeeds Englishman Bob Houghton.

Medeira named deputy

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) appointed stand-in coach Savio Medeira as Koevermans’ deputy and the Dutch exuded confidence in being provided with the best.

 “I have confidence in the staff. I’ll meet the players, assess them and not make changes initially,” Koevermans assured.

 “In my country, young players are given a chance if they meet the international standards. So shall we. I like pressure. It is part of the job and helps to perform better.”

 The coach also promised to sort the issue of clubs battling with the federation. “Clubs own the players. But I will meet the officials and convince them it is good if their players get to play international football.”

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