Kewell: Coaching is a more satisfying challenge

"When you are a footballer you think of yourself, you are worried only about yourself, but as a coach, you have a squad; you are looking at up to 18 players."

Atletico Paranaense coach Marcelo Vilhena (L) and Watford FC under-21 coach Harry Kewell (R) at a press meet ahead of the Sait Nagjee football tournament.   -  S RAMESH KURUP

At 37, Harry Kewell may not be too old for a season in the lucrative ISL, but the Australian World Cup hero of 2006 says he would not be tempted to come out of retirement.

“I am enjoying my stint as a coach,” said Kewell, who is here with the Under-21 of the English Premier League club Watford FC for the Sait Nagjee international football tournament starting on Friday. “I have done my time as a player.”

He said he had been hearing a lot about the ISL. “I am told that the first year of the ISL was interesting, but they probably did not get the kind of players they wanted; then in the second year they got more professional players,” he said. “Some of my friends, like John Arne Riise, have played in it and enjoyed it. He has earned a name good name for himself in the ISL.”

Kewell, whose goal against Croatia had taken to Australia to the Round of 16 in the 2006 World Cup, said the challenge of coaching Watford FC was a satisfying one. “Being a player and a coach are two different careers,” he said. “When you are a footballer you think of yourself, you are worried only about yourself, but as a coach, you have a squad; you are looking at up to 18 players, it is a different, more satisfying, challenge.”

He said Watford’s aim was to win the tournament. “We have not come here to finish second third or fourth,” he said. “But, we will take one game at a time.”

He admitted the warm weather conditions at Kozhikode were completely different from England. “We are used to snow and rain back home,” he said. “But that is no excuse; as footballers you have to adapt quickly.”

His Brazilian counterpart, Atletico Paranaense coach Marcelo Vilhena, said his players might not find the conditions as tough. “We want to play our best here,” he said. “We have a young team and we feel every team here would provide us tough competition.”

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