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I promised you that you would see a completely different team today-Nicolai Adam

Written by: Mrunal Nakashe

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The India U-17 manager spoke after his team beat Belarus Under-18s in the Granatin Memorial Cup...

India Under-17 beat Beat Belarus Under-18 1-0 in the Gtanatkin Memorial Cup yesterday. Komal Thatal scored the only goal of the game in the 68th minute. This was an important morale-boosting win for the Junior Colts who came into the game on the back of a 8-0 drubbing at the hands of hosts Russia.

Speaking to the media after the match manager Nicolai Adam was understandably pleased with the response of the team after the last debacle. Excerpts:

Two days ago after a heavy defeat from Russia I promised you in this very room that you would see a completely different team of India today. Frankly speaking, I am not completely sure what caused such a victory today. Maybe the reason is connected with a much warmer weather in St. Petersburg compared to a strong frost two days ago. Maybe it’s because our entire team went to an Indian restaurant yesterday. In any case, all factors added positive emotions so harshly needed to recover and to win the game. Belarus is a very strong opponent. I come from Germany, and I remember a very good player Alexander Hleb.

Q) You made multiple changes for this game. For instance, you changed the captain. Was the previous player unsuccessfully coping with this role?

We have two candidates to be a team captain. There’s no competition between them. But I was not satisfied with the way the captain behaved himself during one of the moments in a previous game – when we had a penalty kick against, he was just standing still as if he gave up. I consider this is unacceptable for a leader. I had a serious conversation with the team after the last loss. I spoke with today’s captain as well. I managed to convince him that the team and I can trust him.

The Indians celebrate Komal Thatal's winner.

Q) And still, after the end of the game today you burst hugging with the player who was a captain in the previous match…

I am in such a mood now that I am ready to hug everyone. It’s just that this player (number 8) has got an interesting story. Previous coaches did not see any talent in this guy. He was playing in B team. Our coaching staff, on the contrary, saw potential in him, and now he’s one of the leaders of our team.

Q) India is a big country. Can you tell us where football is more developed?

India is a great country. More than a billion people live there. I would say that it’s not a country, but a continent rather. It is difficult to travel there for various reasons – there’s a war in some areas and somewhere the climate does not let you. Nevertheless, you know that India is hosting the U-17 World Cup this fall, and I hope this country will put itself on a football map after the event.

 

Published: Wed Jan 11, 2017 08:25 PM IST

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