The Spanish tactician also spoke on the prospect of reducing the number of foreigners in teams.
Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat and Chennai City FC head coach Akbar Nawas interacted in an Instagram live session on Chennai City FC’s Instagram. Both coaches enjoyed success in the 2018-19 season, as they emerged victorious with their respective clubs in their respective leagues. However, they didn’t enjoy the best of results in the following campaign as both sides failed to defend their respective titles.
The 51-year-old Bengaluru FC coach shared his thoughts and experience of being part of Indian football while in it’s development stages. “It’s very nice to be part of that special moment in India because you can really see football developing very fast. Because of the work of very good professionals, like the management, coaches and players. They come to India and help the game grow and I think all of us can see that. We see young players becoming better within just 2-3 years, so it’s very nice to be part of that.”
The Spaniard had a few words for the Chennai City head coach with regard to transfers and squad retention. Carles Cuadrat said, “The only bad thing about working good, is that suddenly your team gets finished because all the great players get transferred to another team. I know that happened with Chennai City, when you were I-League champions and you had a wonderful team. It’s part of the business, but you were losing a lot of players from one season to another season.”
Asked about his opinion on reducing the number of foreigners in the league, he replied saying, “Personally, for me, Indian Super League is giving a nice show because we are still playing with five foreigners. I think that if we go down in the number of foreigners, we are going to put the Indian players under a lot of pressure and some of them are not yet ready. I understand if the association wants to change that, I will support it and keep working trying to develop youngsters.”
Speaking about the importance of Indian players performing consistently to build a competitive team, Carles Cuadrat said, “When you are in a training camp, you as a coach, you see the quality very fast. The national team coach doesn’t need to work with the players for three months to see the quality, you can really select the quality in one training week, you see that and then you keep working with a good quality team. I really respect the job of the head coach and we always support the national team.”
“Igor Stimac has been talking in interviews about the consistency of the players. There is a lot of talent in India, you can see in the I-League and ISL, but there are a lot of players that aren’t playing 90 minutes week after week, which is also a point to make a selection. To compete against national teams like Qatar, Japan and big national teams, you have to go with really strong and fit players and those kind of players are the ones who are playing 90 minutes game after game, otherwise they are going to be out after 45 minutes of the game.”
With the increase in Spanish nationals taking charge at many Indian clubs, Cuadrat feels that it doesn’t come as a surprise that Spaniards are much sought-after in the country. “Spanish coaches are there because they have been getting results. Albert Roca has won two cups, Sergio Lobera has won the cup last season, Kibu Vicuna has won the I-League and now is going to coach Kerala Blasters, myself and Antonio Habas winning the Indian Super League.”
The Spaniard was asked to share his thoughts on the unconventional system of awarding the title to the winners of the playoffs. “You have won the I-League and you know it’s more a league in the common way. You get the benefit of all the season and because you have been the best during all the season you become champion. The other situation is very strange because at the end you have to save your strength only for three games because semi-finals and final is going to give you the championship.
“I mean, you can become the fourth-placed team in the competition, you can arrive to the playoffs just being sixth or seventh in the last game and get the fourth position because you win and other teams don’t. Then in three games, you become the champion. In six years of the competition, only Bengaluru FC was the winner of the league and winner of the final, the other five editions, it never happened,” he said.
The Bengaluru FC head coach had a lot of praise for the developments that have been undertaken with respect to youngsters in the country and the impact of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. “Some of these players have been becoming a very important part of the last Indian Super League, Sumit (Rathi) in ATK, the players from Kerala, from NorthEast United, they have been giving a lot to Indian football last season and part of the reason is the training, games and challenges they had two seasons ago while training with the U-17 team playing the World Cup.
The Indian Super League is working a lot with the standards, they are giving a lot of minimum standards. I’ve worked in the I-League and I know the Indian Super League and I think that one difference between the two leagues is the standards of the ISL. If we want to be an important football nation, it has to happen not now, not with just six editions of ISL, it has to be 15 years, 20 years, it has to be a long project and we will see the results,” Carles Cuadrat concluded.