Getting emotional: ‘Thank you sir,’ players say in chorus

Wim-Koevermans-with-his-boys-after-the-match-against-PalestineSiliguri: Team India Players got emotional hearing that National Coach Wim Koevermans won’t be continuing as the National Coach or take up the post of the future Technical Director of All India Football Federation.

National Team Captain Sunil Chhetri, currently the highest-ever Indian goalscorer in International Football described the phase as a “great journey.”

“He came across as someone who was a rare combination of being very knowledgeable and hard working at the same time. It’s always been a pleasure working under him. The news came as a shock for me and I wish him luck for all his future endeavours.”

“Under his Coaching I tried to prove myself to the best of my efforts and enjoyed the working rapport which we had.”
‘Spiderman’ Subrata Paul who has been a serving member of the National Team for long also maintained that the news “came as a surprise.”

“I have been part of the contingent under him since 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Wim-Sir has always been different from others. There’s no denying that I learnt a lot under him. I need to thank him for giving me the opportunity and trusting me as a Goalkeeper. I will carry the memories for long,” Subrata opined.

‘Double Cylinder’ Mehtab Hossain took a deep breath when queried about his feelings. “I was privileged to be a part of his squad. There was so much to learn from him – right from the eating habits to the discipline, the punctuality, all of which isn’t that much prevalent in Indian Football,” he quipped.

“His practice sessions were always a lesson for all. They were never strenuous and he always stressed on match related sessions. As a person he was such a disciplined man and it transpired down to the Players. It’s a misfortune that the Team under him didn’t get the desired results which it should have. I will miss him,” he added.

Senior Pro Clifford Miranda recollected the first time he met Koevermans.

“I first met him prior to the Preparatory Camp for the Nehru Cup and the Team tasted instant success. I have, possibly never seen a Coach as committed as him.
His dedication and care for his squad has been unparallel. I have some great memories playing under him and he always encouraged me to play my natural game. I wish him all the best and will cherish every moment which I spent playing under him,” Miranda said at one breath.

“He was the perfect Gentleman – both on and off the field.”

Midfielder Lenny Rodrigues who has been synonymous with the National Team since 2012 thanked Koevermans for his “trust.”
“The news has taken some time to sink in. In fact, I am still unable to recover from the shock. I have had some good memories playing under him right from the Nehru Cup. He found me suitable and entrusted him with responsibilities on the field. I have always tried to give me best,” Rodrigues quipped. “I will miss him.”

Denzil Franco, Lenny’s roommate, thanked Koevermans for giving him the “confidence as an International Player.”
“His inputs have always been so valuable. That I have been able to wear the National Team Jersey on a regular basis, I owe it to him. He has made me a much more confident Player. I wish him all the best for his future assignments,” he stated. “He has always been guiding force for all of us. We grew up with him and this upbringing will stay with all of us forever.”

Taken aback by Koevermans’ decision, Arnab Mondal spoke in a low tone. “I need to thank him as he ended my frustration of not being able to play for the National Team. It was under him that I made my debut and it means a lot to me. He stressed on modern Football techniques and the Team benefitted from it. Yeah, some of the results may not reflect that but that never takes away anything away about his qualities as a Coach,” Arnab recollected.

“He is such an organised person. You can always learn from him. I wish him success.”

Striker Robin Singh pronounced that Koevermans has been the “support and guide during his journey.”

“He was the one who brought me into the Team. My transition from the Bench to a regular Member of the Starting XI happened under him. I have grown immensely as a Player and an individual under him,” Robin quipped.

“The news of him not continuing any more made me heavy inside. He has cited personal reasons for his leaving but personally I don’t want him to leave. I wish him all the best and at the same time need to be careful of not letting him down in the future for all the trust he has shown in me.”

Francis Fernandes, who grew in stature under Koevermans admitted it’s a “sad moment for me.”

“He has always been a huge pillar of strength and support. At the same time he was always there to correct my mistakes. He made me a confident Player what I am today. I will miss him and wish him all the best,” Fernandes said. “The memories will stay with me forever.”

Surely they will. The young brigade – the Narayans, the Pritams, the Amrinders and all others unanimously thanked Koevermans and wished him all success for the future.

“Thank You, Sir,” they said in chorus. The Seniors joined in too.

By Nilanjan Datta,
AIFF Media