In Conversation with Mr. Isac Doru, Technical Director of the Indian National Football Team.
1. At the Youth level, there is a strong differentiation that is made between Development and Winning, As the Technical Director of India Football, how important is it that you find the right balance between both?
A: I think the answer is in your question itself. It is of utmost importance to find the right balance because development just for the sake of development is useless, there must be development, with an end goal to reach a high standard performance and that high standard of performance, can be patented as a winning mentality so that is what is most important.
2. When you look at the Business & Glamour of Football, sometimes the Youth aspect is given a back seat, for clubs like Dempo Sports Club, whose sole focus is on developing the Nations Talent, how do you envision their path to moving forward?
A: You know in the international scene of football, we have many such clubs like that, with each club having its own vision. Now at a club like Dempo, who’s new ideology is more about youth Development, it reminds me of AFC AJAX, when they started 30 years ago and went on to dominate Europe, it is because of this vision, that I really want to support this club, because they have the vision to develop players for the professional world. It is also vitally important that these players play more competitive games, that way they develop more for your club, can be sold to other clubs and even other countries because the facilities I see here are state of the art just like the ones in Manchester England, so the only difference is the vision.
3. As it stands, Football is a High Risk, High Reward career path, how important is it to build India’s Football ecosystem as a potential career opportunity, not just for Players but Management alike?
A: Well Football as an activity produces about 50- 60 jobs in various fields, as a Technical Director I am focusing on individuals that give me a specialization in their field and not at generalists. To grow we need to have the best in the field. For example with the coaching side that would mean looking at coaches for Attackers, Defenders and Goalkeepers separately, to get the best out of them.
4. How important a Concept is the AIFF Academy Accreditation? And as a TD what are you looking to bring into the process?
A: Well it is good to have such a system that exists and monitors the academies but the way I see it, is I need to help them progress and help them develop new methodology’s of training, give them a system where they will play competitive games on a regular basis because a country can only progress if they have longer leagues, varying on the age of the team off course. Longer game calendars mean more exposure, not just for players but also for Coaches and Referees, hence that is the engine for youth development, you may have the best concept for your youth development but what is most important is the need for competitive games.
5. Dempo Sports Club is the top team in the state when it comes to Youth Development, is it a coincidence that they are Goa’s only 3-star rated Academy or is this an early sign that the system does work?
A: Yes it is a sign, but we must remember that the purpose of an academy must always be the need to produce players but off course the only way this happens is if the coaching and infrastructure levels are off top quality and this is where the Star ratings come in place.
6. You have been quite vocal about the need of empowering women in Football, Dempo Sports Club has recently taken on a Female Technical Director to head their Youth Development Division, are you beginning to see a shift in the Mind-set of the country?
A: To be honest I have an external point of view because I’m not an Indian but what I study from the history of the country is that woman have always played a poor role socially, not only in football but in most things and for me, that is losing extraordinary social energy, because what we lose is this timeless wisdom. As a father, I also want to see my daughters feel proud that this society values them and therefore we need to have more opportunity and begin to cultivate a sense of feeling that will turn into a value mindset that will be there every day and not just be done for political reasons, speaking on your TD, I was disappointed to lose her at the federation but I also saw that it was good for India, to have her at another place and create something new.