Koevermans not worried by India loss

India's national football coach Wim Koevermans said he was not overly concerned by his side's 2-0 loss to Singapore in their international friendly on Tuesday.

Football News: Mustafic Fahrudin, Singapore
Abhishek Mehrotra

By Abhishek Mehrotra

India started brightly, but quickly tailed off and failed to create any chances of note in the 90 minutes as goals from Khairul Amri and Fazrul Nawaz helped Singapore record an easy 2-0 win.

The opening goal had an element of farce about it, as keeper Subrata Paul scuffed his kick straight at Shahdan Sulaiman, whose well-directed header allowed Khairul to nip in between the defence and rifle the ball in. 

"We started off really well, we had a lot of possession, we were in their half, had one or two small chances," said Koevermans after the match.

"After that, strangely enough, we started losing the ball too many times and that brought Singapore back in the game. All of a sudden the game [was being played] more in our half than in their half. 

"We were struggling with keeping the ball, with building up. And we gave the goal away, to be honest. That's not what we wanted of course."

However, the Dutchman was sanguine about India's future prospects despite the tepid show on Tuesday.

"It's part of our development. We will not worry at all," he stressed. 

"We have shown in previous matches we are capable of doing it [scoring] even under pressure. This is the next step for the team and that's why we always want to play on the FIFA dates. 

"It was a very interesting game today [Tuesday] - we can play much better than we did in certain parts of the game but I must also give credit to Singapore because when they saw we had problems in building up possession, they pressed us really high. That's something my players need to see and then we have to make the right choices in the end."

The former Holland international also stated his players needed to improve tactically and widen the pitch while playing.

"It [losing possession] also has to do with how close we are together," he said. 

"Too many times we move towards the ball because everyone wants to help instead of making it [the pitch] big and spread out, we make it smaller. So we know the things that we have to improve on but the best improvements are always when you have failures sometimes so that you can realise and understand how to make the next step."

Koevermans was also pressed on the fact that India have yet to produce a top-class team despite a population of well over a billion.

"That's what everybody says," he responded. 

"A lot of things need to improve - we have a new technical director who has a beautiful new masterplan. But it needs to be implemented in India, and as you know it's a huge country.

"We have so many different football associations in our states and that's where it has to start. That's where everybody needs to improve. 

"I see a lot of talent in India and in the I-League. I see a lot of good players and that encourages me a lot. For the long term, it needs to be organised in a different way and that's going to happen."

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