Carlos wants to put a system in place

The Kerala blasters' players train hard under the guidance of Ciaran Deely.-S. MAHINSHA

“I am getting to know the Indian players, giving them responsibility so that they can learn a lot. When the ball is on the right side, everyone goes to the ball and when it is on the left side everyone goes to the left. No, that is not the way. We have a system, the combination has to be perfect. So I am working on the best solution,” says the Brazilian World Cup winner.

For Delhi Dynamos’ player-cum-coach Roberto Carlos, the Indian Super League (ISL) is not just another post-retirement platform to make money. In a short period, the Brazilian great has been able to get a fair idea about Indian football and wants to enrich it by changing the general outlook towards the sport.

Carlos wants Indian football to come of age and expects the players to play in a systematic manner. “I am getting to know the Indian players, giving them responsibility so that they can learn a lot. When the ball is on the right side, everyone goes to the ball and when it is on the left side everyone goes to the left. No, that is not the way. We have a system, the combination has to be perfect. So I am working on the best solution,” says Carlos.

Carlos strongly feels that the foreign players featuring in the ISL will be able to inculcate winning habits in the Indians and turn them into better professionals. “The foreigners will teach the Indian players how to have the mentality of a winner. They have to go on the pitch, play and win. Here in India sometimes they think, ‘Oh I will go and wear National squad jersey.’ What for? What’s the importance of playing for your country? They have to have goals, goals to be the champion to represent your country in the World Cup. That is what I have done with my National squad for 17 years. Each training session was a gain, each gain was a win.

“What is the position of India in the FIFA ranking? 155? We can make it better — 90, 80. That’s why I have brought these players to teach them (Indians) to get there. It is not enough to be good. You have to win and win.”

Carlos, who represented Brazil in two World Cup finals and was a member of the 2002 title-winning squad, says a player’s priority should always be the National team. “The players who play for Delhi Dynamos have to represent the country. Of course, they have to go. I will never say no to the National squad. The most important thing for a player is to get to the National squad.”

The 42-year-old free-kick specialist, who sees ISL as a perfect opportunity for the growth of the Indians, does not bother about the pressure of expectations or the tight scheduling of the matches. “It is complicated to play for Real Madrid (his former club of nearly a decade). There is no pressure (in ISL), the team will not go to second division. I do not have (any) pressure. Our schedule is not a problem. In Brazil it is more difficult.”

The mode of training varied from each individual and according to the prevailing weather conditions on the particular day," blasters' physical trainer Ciaran Deely (above) says.-S. GOPAKUMAR

The proud Brazilian just wants his team-mates to play like winners and exhibit entertaining football throughout the ISL. “I want my team to be always attacking (in its approach), a lot attacking. They (opposition) can score four goals, but I can score five. If they score five, I will score six. I am a Brazilian. I have played for clubs who are always attacking,” says Carlos.

It is a new challenge for Deely

Challenge has been the buzzword for Ciaran Deely always and it was the driving force behind his decision to join Kerala Blasters as the team’s chief physical trainer. Deely, who has played for Wexford GAA, has worked as a fitness trainer with English Championship side Queens Park Rangers before. Speaking about his decision to move from a top tier English club to Indian shores, he says: “I had three great years with Queens Park Rangers. But it reached a point where it was no longer challenging for me. I have always wanted to work in Asia at some point of time in my career. Last year, I spent a month in Nepal on holiday and I found South Asia to be an interesting place. When Peter Taylor asked me if I was interested, I thought here was an opportunity. So I decided to give it a try. And now I am here enjoying my work.”

Deely, well aware of the hectic schedule of the ISL, knows the importance of pre-season training. “The challenge is to make the team match fit in a short period of time. I know the ISL season is short and hence the pre-season was even shorter,” he says. “The key was not to over-train the players, but to increase the fitness level gradually and make them reach the desired level and find a way to retain it for the entire championship. The climate here has also been a challenge to me. It is so humid here and players, especially the foreigners and those from cooler climes in India, found it very hard to cope with. Moreover players came here with different levels of fitness. Foreign players had a level of activity and were in some shape. But Indian players, except for those in the camp, were a bit rusty. I had to work hard on them. We basically did a lot of aerobic training. We did short sprints and made them work a lot with the ball.”

Elaborating on the training schedule, he adds: “Basically the mode of training varied from each individual and according to the prevailing weather conditions on the particular day. The humid climate made it mandatory that they get enough time for recovery. We had ice baths and swimming sessions for recovery. Every second day the players hit the gym to build their core strength. We played practice matches in the evening at 4.30 p.m. It was a good workout for the players. Overall I am pleased with the way the boys have responded.”

Deely has no complaints about the facilities in India and says: “Look, I came here with an open mind. I knew, I cannot expect things to be in place and in order here. There are limitations. The challenge for me was to bring out the best from each player within the available facility and time. Genetically Indians are weaker and I knew it. They need more work in core strength and in stability.”

— Y. B. Sarangi; M. R. Praveen Chandran