The tactician talks Intercontintal Cup, his love for India and its fans as well as the country’s future in football.
Gary White, currently the Head Coach of Chinese Taipei had struck an instant chord with the Indian fans during his last visit to India as Guam’s Head Coach. In a freewheeling interview with AIFF, White mentioned about him personally looking forward to meeting the fans again, the limitless potential for Indian Football, Chinese Taipei’s gain from the hero Intercontinental Cup and much more. Excerpts:
Q1. How much are you personally looking forward to be in India once again?
A- Personally I love India. My last visit as Head Coach of Guam National Team was quite an experience. It provided me the opportunity to soak in the culture and taste the culinary cuisine which are some of the reasons why India stands out. Last time we were there during the festive season and I was blown away with the hospitality that we received.
Q2. You also hit an instant chord with the Indian fans.
A- I was coming to it and you actually took it out from my mouth. The fans were just fantastic. I still remember the poster which they put up in the India vs Guam match in Bengaluru. It was the largest-ever poster ever created for a Football match. I remember they were colouring it out under the stadium stands when our players helped them to roll out the canvas.
The fans make the environment special and dynamic. I am actually looking forward to personally meeting them again.
Q3. What’s your assessment about the Indian National Team especially given the fact that they have had some wonderful results in the recent past?
A- I have seen it for myself, the manner Football has grown in popularity in India in recent times. The most significant thing is that when the National Team wins, everyone wins. Stephen (Constantine) and his staff have done a commendable job to get to where they are at the moment, the potential is limitless for Indian football in the future.
Q4. How much are you looking forward to the Hero Intercontinental Cup?
A- As the dates for the tournament do not fall in the official FIFA International calendar and due to our senior players being actively in the middle of the China Professional League season, we have been unable secure our full regular senior player squad. But where there is adversity there is also massive opportunity to grow, so in-fact this has become a goldmine opportunity for us. We will bring a younger team that will be preparing for the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.
Q5. How does that benefit?
A- We will get to see this group of players compete with higher ranked teams in a very competitive tournament. We will utilize this as a platform to test and evaluate their potential and ability.
The squad maybe young but it’s an extremely exciting and talented group of players. We will challenge the players to seize this opportunity to secure themselves a place in the first team squad for the rest of the 2018 games program. All the selected players will be looking to impress and leave a footmark in the team that I hope will give me a real headache for future selection for the senior National team.
This tournament will give us the priceless opportunity to prepare for the forthcoming Asian Games, which is socially and culturally a very important competition for T