Eelco Schattorie: Indian players must develop creatively and step forward
“I love how people say: give him some balls and let him do what he should do. It is not a tomato soup where an ingredient is missing, and we simply add it and it will be fine. Most people who never did top-level sports have no idea how much effort is needed to improve and improve, read coach Eelco Schattorie's tweet a few days ago, in response to a fan who advised how he can help improve the Malayali K. soccer player game
Eelco's social media feed is full of eye-to-eye responses, which are entertaining and informative. The Dutch manager, who took over the reins of the most famous coaches like René Meulensteen and David James was shown the door due to the team's bleak performance in the last two seasons, introduces himself as an extremely frank person when we meet him. He had been having breakfast while also examining the videos of some previous games. In conversation with the coach:
How has the season been with the Kerala team so far?
Not as I wanted it to be until now, and it has nothing to do with the club. Last year, Kerala's team had many organizational problems, but this season management has been doing its best. In terms of preparation, since day 1, we have had some problems, especially with regard to injuries. Many foreign players like Jairo Rodrigues and Gianni Zuiverloon were injured. So, in the preseason when players are supposed to advance, many players tried to catch up to get fit first.
We also had some luck losing Sandesh Jhingan. Even Mario Arqués was injured, but we took a little risk with him in the match against Calcutta. In addition, Abdul Samad was absent in the four weeks of preseason and Darren Caldeira also had a collision. Therefore, we still do not have all the strength and we are not there yet in terms of creating cohesion and stability. That is why I am unhappy.
The last two coaches arrived with great fanfare, but they had to let them go soon. Does that put you under pressure?
I'm dealing with just one pressure at the moment, I call it the Bollywood factor in Indian football. It is when people believe that their perception of something is true. For example, some of our younger boys have a fantastic talent, but I receive emails every day that say Sahal should play in the next game. While I am delighted to have him on the team, I think he needs more time. Even when I was in the national team, I heard the coach say he needs to work on his defense. So far, the best way to use it is on a free paper. But you must learn to play in a certain structure. He was expelled from a football school in Abu Dhabi, so he has not really played competitive games. I'd rather take some time with him in that process. In addition, he is injured. The pressure I feel is when the fans think that if Sahal plays, everything is fine. But that is not the case. So, I am trying to deal with these dynamics in the best way I can.
How much does fan support mean for the club?
In football, there are certain dynamics that you cannot control as a coach. The expectations of the followers and the attention of the media are among these. All I can do is try to play a certain style of football, but to implement it I still don't have the full tools due to the injuries. That would take some time. I don't want to be aggressive, it's something I've learned to deal with because it's out of my control.
From his history as a coach in the Netherlands, the Middle East and India, the highlight is that he fosters local talents. How do you rate the youth in the Kerala team?
We have good players like Rahul KP. He has strength and rhythm, but he is still at a level where I say his style is a bit wild and out of control. It is also the same with Sahal. He is extremely creative, but also needs control. I think that to be a good player you need 80% stability and 20% special qualities. But what we see now is that young people are looking for 80% adventure and 20% stability.
The last three games, an aspect that stood out despite the result was that the players had a sense of confidence in themselves and their teammates, unlike the previous seasons. How was that process of building trust?
In all the games, although he didn't see us play the football he wanted, the players were 100% committed. It is always a good start and I am very happy with that. The fluidity of the game should increase, but there were some patches where I saw that the players were implementing what they were told. In addition, we have a good atmosphere now. I'm the type of coach who says that trusting each other doesn't mean you have to be good to the other players; You must be open and direct. This works both ways: player for me and vice versa. That is my process and it is reflected in the field.
He has also trained teams like East Bengal and North East United. How have you adapted to the configuration of Indian football?
I have been training for a long time in Asia. I think that when you are part of another culture, you must find its key elements. What I have observed in Indian football is that there is a lack of creativity. In addition, here is a system where young people always listen to the elderly. I think younger people should develop creatively and take a step forward. I try to adapt to these things. I help stimulate creativity and think more for yourself. Again, it is a process, and these seem to resonate among the players.
What are the improvements you have seen in Indian football?
Obviously, if you play with better players, in this case foreign players, the pace of the game increases. Indian players have to adapt to that. The tastes of Bartholomew Ogbeche in our team talk a lot with our players and gain a lot of experience.
How was the stay in Kerala?
It is a beautiful state. Unfortunately, I've only seen it in photos because I haven't had time to go out yet. I am a person of nature and I love being in nature, so I am looking to explore the State in the future.
You are also someone who is active in social networks, constantly interacting with fans.
People always ask me why I am talking to fans. I wonder what is there to worry about that. We are all human beings, why can't we interact? I will not go into detailed discussions with them, but sometimes I think it is my job to explain things.