Former Bundesliga manager open to coaching in India

Robin Dutt, born in Cologne to a German mother and a Bengali father from Kolkata, has said he is open to prospects of coaching in India.

Born in Cologne to a German mother and a Bengali father from Kolkata, Dutt started playing professionally in 1983.   -  SATTWIK BISWAL

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are the big names when it comes to managers in European football. But in Bundesliga, an Indian-origin German manager, Robin Dutt, has made a name and says he is open to the possibility of coaching in India.

Born in Cologne to a German mother and a Bengali father from Kolkata, Dutt started playing professionally in 1983, but his journey as a manager took off at TSG Leonberg, as a 30-year-old player-coach.

Having previously coached top-flight Bundesliga clubs like Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen, Dutt is currently managing VFL Bochum. He rose to prominence during his time at Stuttgarter Kickers, where he led the team to victory in DFB-Pokal in 2006.

“I had plenty of meetings with teams between the job in Stuttgart and Bochum. The idea was to bring me there. We spoke about certain teams. But before anything could happen there, I took this job in Bochum," Dutt said when asked about a possibility of working in India.

"In this whole world, there is a lot of money. I'm 55 and money is not a reason for me to be a football coach and I won't just go to any club for six-seven months.

"I have been at the job in Bochum for 19 months, which is more than the average tenure for a manager in Germany. The next time I get a break, I could go to India. I am open to the possibility of coaching in India. But it is maybe better for me to go there and give my experience to the coaches. I don’t have any concrete plans,” he added.

Klopp - the biggest coach

Liverpool and former Borussia Dortmund manager, Klopp and Dutt, started their coaching careers together in Germany.

“Yes. We earned our UEFA Pro License in 2005 together. He was coaching Mainz in the second division. He comes from south Germany. I have grown up there. So I know a lot about him. At the moment, he is the biggest coach from Germany. He says he is the normal one. He is a very good coach and a very nice human being,” Dutt said.

“We are not friends as such. But the German coaches are a small group. When we see each other, we greet one another.”

There were talks that Dutt, who was also the sports director of the German football association, was in contention to become national team's coach before Joachim Low.

"Low was always first choice. I was never in contact with the association about being the national coach," he rubbished the claims.

As a young manager how difficult was it to coach big players like Michael Ballack?

“It is not easy. If you want to manage big players, you need experience as a coach as well. When I came from Freiburg to Leverkusen, I was a young coach. Everything was different at Leverkusen. At Freiburg, everyone used to listen to what I would say. At Leverkusen, it wasn’t always the case. Ballack was one of those players.

“I did some mistakes. I handled him like a player at Freiburg. But he was a big player. He was a national team player. You have to handle him in a different way. I didn’t had the experience then,” Dutt explained.

Roadmap for Germany

Defending champions Germany's 2-0 defeat to South Korea saw them knocked out of World Cup 2018 in the first round. However, Dutt feels the young players aren't getting enough chance in the first and second division.

"Somewhere, we have forgotten what made us have success. The way we worked with our young players. We also started buying a lot of players from outside. The young players are not getting much of a chance in the first and second division. We have to go back to what makes us good. We have 80 million people in Germany. Iceland has one million population and they are playing so well," Dutt said.

"You want to always be at the top. We want to win everything. The U-17 team has not qualified for the Euros. That is not Germany. We are very angry. Even if we finish fourth in the World Cup, we are not happy. It is not easy and there is a lot of competition. But if we want to have success, we need to do a good job in the academy. Then we can go back to the success we have had," he also said.

Kolkata connection

On his last birthday, Dutt took out his colleagues to an Indian restaurant, close to the VFL Bochum ground. Till last year when his father was alive, it was Indian cuisine at home on all Sundays.

“I have got two sisters. We have grown up in Germany. I visited Kolkata over 30 years ago. I used to visit Delhi too. My uncle was living there.”

(The writer is in Germany on an invitation from Bundesliga)

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