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TALENT WILL NEVER SPOT YOU, IT’S ALWAYS THE OTHER WAY ROUND: CONSTANTINE

One of the hallmarks of National Coach Stephen Constantine’s coaching career has been his eye to spot players from nowhere and draft them into his squad as part of the team’s developmental process. At the moment as India train in Mumbai ahead of the Hero tri-nation International Football series, there are U-23 players picked up from Santosh Trophy, from team benches of I-League Clubs and even players who have hardly played at all during the previous season. In an exclusive chat, Constantine defines his coaching ideology, the logic of looking into ‘obscurity,’ the lifespan of a team and the need for the change. EXCERPTS:

How do you describe the composition of the Team?

Right from day one, I have tried to create a positive atmosphere in regards to competition within the Team. Off course you need the experience and need to learn from the senior players but that can sometimes lead us to a bit of stagnation. It’s extremely important for senior players to need to work hard to keep their positions as much it is important for the kids to learn to take their positions.
At the moment, I feel we have the right balance as even the young players have some 8-9 matches under their belt and you cannot call them inexperienced anymore.

What do find special in players playing in obscurity – university tournaments, Santosh Trophy, local leagues, etc.

I look for the general attitude of the player in those games. It’s all about the desire and the commitment and their willingness to go the extra mile. Off course you need to have the ability and just passion and running around wouldn’t alone do. If the attitude is right, I can improve him but if the attitude isn’t right, he won’t ever reach the level.

So you love to look around?

There’s never any substitute for watching. In such a vast country like India, I will always be looking around, and why not? I have always said that there is talent all over in this country. But talent will never spot you; rather you need to walk to discover them. It’s because I am looking around that I am finding players from obscurity and here we are, speaking about it.

Over the years as a Coach did you develop this knack of picking youngsters from nowhere, or were you born with it.

(Smiles) I don’t know whether I was born with it or not.

Having been through trials as a kid, I felt they can at times be extremely unfair simply because the kid never gets enough chance to showcase his potential. When I see any player, and from all levels, I just try to find out whether he can play the brand of Football which I want him to play. If you can, the door stays open for you.

There has always been an emphasis on youth in your squad. At the moment, we have 10 faces from the Indian U-23 squad which played the AFC U-23 Championships in Doha.

As long as I will be the Coach, I will always try and develop youth players and give them opportunities. The lifespan of any team is around 4-6 years. When you are in the 4th year, you need to keep searching again – you need to look for change. So why not do it all the time?


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TALENT WILL NEVER SPOT YOU, IT’S ALWAYS THE OTHER WAY ROUND: CONSTANTINE


News Courtesy:- AIFF Media Team

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