NEW DELHI: As India reached their second-best FIFA Ranking (96) ever in the latest FIFA Rankings published on July 6, 2017 and as connoisseurs start to mention about Stephen Constantine having a ‘magic wand,’ the man himself feels that it’s all about teamwork. In an exclusive interview, he speaks at length about the life of a Coach, the difficulty in celebrating moments, his personal satisfaction and much more. EXCERPTS:
Can a Coach ever be satisfied?
There is always the next game which comes to your mind. So it’s not always possible to enjoy the moment. That’s how life is as you are always trying to get better. People may be tempted to go crazy with the recent rise in Rankings and the results, but we cannot get carried away.
People mention you have a magic wand.
(Smiles). I don’t think it’s going to anything do with magic. It’s just a respect for my job and respect for my players, as much it’s the respect for the people around me. These are the key ingredients to any National Team moving forward.
But the Coach is always in the spotlight.
He is, but a Football Team is never about one single person. I take responsibility when the Team is not doing well and share the praise when the Team is doing well. That’s how it is.
Prior to taking up the second stint with India, you were Coaching Rwanda. Why did you yourself step down to take over a Team of more than 100 places in the FIFA Rankings?
I was here some ten years prior and at that time no one knew me. I have always had an emotional attachment with India. Having said that, 2015 was the first year after the Indian Super League was launched. I could foresee a change coming as Indian Football had itself decided that it needed to change. I felt that I could help them go forward. Luckily, Mr. Patel also thought the same.
At the end of the day, all in solitude in your room, what thoughts come back?
(Smiles again). I prefer to sit back, relax a bit and think about how many players I brought through to International Football. And by the way, I am not speaking about the number of players who get International debuts.
Can you elaborate?
If you look at the current Team that started in our last two matches against the Kyrgyz Republic and Nepal, seven from the first XI have been introduced through a process in the last two years. That’s what satisfies me – the immense progress that the boys are making. I did the same thing in Rwanda, Malawi, Sudan, Nepal and even the first time I coached India.