The refreshing, honest, and amiable India U-23 and Pailan Arrows coach speaks exclusively to 90 Minutes about the next generation of Indian footballers, the AFC qualifiers in Oman where India did ever so well, and how he’s into coaching at just 32 years of age…
Hi Arthur, thanks for taking out time to speak with us! How and why did you develop an interest in coaching from such an early age? Was it something that excited you more than playing the game?
I don’t think there’s anything better than being a footballer, really. In Australia there was not a lot of education of coaches. At 16, I wanted to find out whether there was more to learn than I was being told, and that’s the reason I enrolled in a coaching course. As it panned out, I couldn’t really make it as a professional footballer due to a number of injuries, so I used my early coaching experience as an impetus later on. As a youngster though, I guess I just wanted to acquire more knowledge about the game to be honest, as it would help me as a footballer as well. It’s the next best thing to being a footballer, I’d say.
Did you ever think you would be coaching in India at this stage of your career? How did you react when the offer first came along?
Absolutely not! It’s a very different experience, and it raised a lot of eyebrows as well. I had a good coaching job back in Australia, but I had a big ambition to be a head coach. Also, I’m at a position in my personal life where I can still travel and not leave someone behind, you know? And of course, the main part is that the person who asked me to come to India is Rob Baan. I have huge respect for him because he’s the one who sort of ‘found me’ in Australia and opened up some doors, and I’ve moved on from there.
When the offer came, my instant reaction was that this was the next challenge for me. It’s something I’m capable of, and something I could make a difference in.
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