Millennium Post

Asian football getting stronger: Zico

The former Brazilian attacking midfielder has signed up for his first Indian engagement as the coach of Indian Super League (ISL) team FC Goa, after a string of assignments in-charge of Asian teams in Uzbekistan, Japan, Iraq and Qatar, among other countries.

‘Asia is getting stronger and I have not come here to be a passenger. I have come here to be a part of the development of the game,’ Zico said here in Goa. His notes and observations about Asian teams are frank as well as educative. The Indian team of a decade back, he said, was simply not up to the mark.‘In 2004, the players left much to be desired. They were short in stature. Also physically they were not well-endowed,’ said Zico, who has played for Brazil in three World Cups but was never to lift the coveted trophy.

And, in what could be a further indictment of decrepit Indian footballing standards, Zico, who has coached four Asian teams, including the national sides of Uzbekistan, Japan and Iraq in the recent past, says he doesn’t know much about the country’s footballing culture or its players. Despite having signed on with FC Goa, Zico claimed he did not know much about the players in his team.

‘I do not have much knowledge about Indian football as such, but I will now meet with all of them and learn more about them. After training I will be able to tell you more about the Indian footballing culture,’ Zico said, adding that it was unfortunate that a country with such a big population does not have much of a footballing story.

Not having a hand in team selection is not a problem according to the officially endorsed FIFA legend, who claims that in a club everyone has his job cut out and there’s no need for overlap. ‘Players belong to the club and not the trainer. It is up to the board of directors to select the players. My job is to train them. I work with the players that I have. Each one in the club, maybe the president, vice president, have their own allotted duties and responsibilities. They do their part and I do my part, which is training,’ Zico said.

‘When I met the players on Thursday my job was to make them better players so that they do well. That’s my job. It’s very easy to get players, Mr. Dempo can get (sign) Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo tomorrow. It’s up to him what players to bring,’ the legend quipped.His stint as the coach of Japan, his first major success, was about starting from scratch, Zico explained.

‘In Japan, there was no professionalism at all. But the biggest advantage I had was that everyone in the Japanese team was united and wanted to progress from amateur football to professional football,’ he recalled.
Next Story
Share it