Many of the Indian U-19 players practicing in Goa have been through three coaches – German Nicolai Adam, Portuguese Luis Matos and now India’s Floyd Pinto. Through time their style of play had changed for the better.
The All India football Federation (AIFF) decided to retain the players who represented India during the AIFF U-17 World Cup by forming Indian Arrows and giving it direct entry into the I-league. After the World cup , Luis Matos carried on with Indian Arrows until he parted ways and Floyd Pinto has taken charge since.
Some of the players who started when they were 15 under Nicolai and progressed under Matos and are now with Floyd are seeing styles of football from three countries. Nicolai was rigid; Matos had a fatherly approach; Floyd is a friend who means business.
The twenty five boys training at the Utorda ground under Floyd are showing that competition is making them grow progressively and with that growth there is a change in demure. Openness is now visible and many now tend to speak English. This is the language Floyd generally communicates with.
Floyds approach with the boys is simple. The India U-19 coach stresses on thinking. “ If you do not have the ball think and organize yourself for the ball,” Floyd tells his boys during training. “ When you mates receives the ball , think of how to support him. Don’t run after the ball,’ says Floyd.
Floyd Pinto , during his two hour training with the boys tends to stress the importance of thinking during the training session on the ground. “ When you have possession of the ball , make the ground big by spreading yourselves and waiting for the ball. When you lose possession, compact the ground,” instructs Floyd.
The Indian U-19 is a group of boys that were part of the U-17 set up and new comers that have been spotted thereafter. Many will be retained to be part of Indian Arrows for the I-league.
From a group of youngsters that were trained to allow opponents to score the minimum goals ; to score and hold the score line ; to a group that is now getting the taste of victory the India u-19 boys have come a long way and appear to be on a path which will see more progress.
“Don’t think twice when you have the ball. Be short and sharp. Be sensible ,” Floyd keeps telling his wards.
The U-19 boys have moved from learning the basics and are now being trained the finer aspects of football by Floyd. Short passes, positional play, expanding and contracting and most importantly the importance of thinking in football.
Style is important but it makes no sense without purpose. “If you do not see a move, don’t pass. Keep the game simple. If you have the ball, you must use it to score,” Floyd is overheard telling the boys during training.
Floyd is not a fatherly figure to the boys but comes across as a coach who knows what the boys need and how to get it from them. He has his own style of passing the need of discipline. “Less commentary, more playing,” sums up the journey of the boys with Floyd .