In a freewheeling interview , Westwood, who guided JSW Bengaluru FC to two I-League titles and a Federation Cup triumph, spoke at a length about an Indian club making it to the Final, AIFF Academy graduates fitting into the club’s philosophy and professionalism, his Coaching experience, the irrepressible Sunil Chhetri and much more.
Did you see JSW Bengaluru FC in the semi-final?
Yes, I did. I anticipated a high-octane match and there was no reason to not to expect that. Although Bengaluru FC conceded an early goal they pulled it off nicely to the end. They deserved to be in the final and now they have a gigantic task ahead.
What would be your message to them before the final?
I would wish them all the best before the D-Day. Now it all boils down to the last 90 minutes. They have to believe in themselves and put up a great show up to their potential. I’m hoping to see a new chapter of Indian Football history unfold in Doha on November 5.
How do you define the fact that an Indian Club made it to the AFC Cup final for the first time?
It’s a fantastic achievement. The sublime fact stays that everybody connected to the club has worked really hard to achieve this. Till date, Indian people used to know about JSW Bengaluru FC and their achievements. But from now on, time has come to let the outer world know about JSW Bengaluru FC’s credibility, their real worth.
When you took up the club job three years back, did you ever foresee that they would achieve it in 3 years?
We had believed in ourselves and had a strong desire to prove ourselves. On the first year itself Bengaluru FC had won the I-League followed by the Federation Cup next season. Even after winning three Trophies in three successive seasons we didn’t sit laid back but tried to achieve more. The urge to win more, to accomplish a new challenge is the key to success of JSW Bengaluru FC.
What was your coaching philosophy on JSW Bengaluru FC?
It’s professionalism and there’s no supplementary of it. I tried to create a Football environment where everybody would enjoy their work. This is utmost important to each and every club’s success.
They say that a professional management is behind every successful club achievement on the field. How did you find the management of BFC?
We have put a framework, we have chalked down a process and everybody started to take it seriously. JSW Bengaluru FC have tapped in not one but many an area which was left untouched in Indian Football before. If others start following what they have set up, that could be the biggest advertisement for the club’s professionalism.
From my vantage point, JSW Bengaluru FC did really reciprocate to my approach and they let me guide them to achieve the goal.
I have gotten an experience of not less than 25 years with myself and they had trust in my abilities.
During your tenure, AIFF academy graduates Daniel, Nishu and Malsawmzuala broke into the starting eleven. Daniel even went on to making his debut for the National Team. What prompted you to select those AIFF Academy graduates?
We followed them closely and saw their abilities. They also responded well and befitted into our strong system and improved further. We provided them with a perfect platform to scale a newer height and they achieved it.
How would you define Sunil’s performance?
I have always said that he’s capable of winning a match on his own. He has the quality and ability to ransack an opponent on his day. He’s a big-match player and he has always performed on the bigger stage.
Report Via – AIFF Media