Pune FC Coach Mike Sneoi: "Success is a Relative Term"

An AIFF Official Press Release
Mike Sneoi, New Pune FC Coach during a one-on-one with AIFF Media Team


Mike Snoei wants to ride Youth Development to success at his new Club Pune FC. In a freewheeling interview to www.the-aiff.com, the Dutch tactician spoke on the reason for him joining Pune FC, making the next step at the Club, his plans, the Dutch philosophy and much more. EXCERPTS:

What brought you to India?

I was looking for a new adventure and challenge after stints in the Middle East and China. I spoke to Mr. Robert Baan and he was very positive about Indian Football and especially Pune FC.

In your inaugural Press Conference you stressed a lot on Pune FC’s Philosophy. What is it?

Pune FC’s philosophy is not based on crazy budgets and spending stupid money. It is based on having a good professional Youth Department. The owner Mr. Nandan Piramal likes to see good development of young talented Players and we are trying to bring more young Players into first team. In a good mix with experienced Players, we also want to be successful in all Competitions.

How much of an idea do you have about Indian football?

I did my research in the past six months. I watched a lot of games on TV and I-stream and spoke with a lot of people. I think Football is not as popular as Cricket, but it has improved a lot.

You stress on Youth Development. How do you plan to build on that in Pune FC?

It is not me who stresses on Youth Development a lot but the philosophy of Mr. Nandan Piramal and Head of Operations Mr. Chirag Tanna. They have a long term plan and want to make a next step with Pune FC.

They wanted a Dutch Coach with the same philosophy as them; more offensive Football who will press forward in a 1-4-2-3-1 system like in Europe. All this is built together with successful Players from Youth Department and good experienced Players.

Is it possible to taste success immediately with a relatively young squad?

What is success? I feel it is a relative term. We must also work for the development of Indian Football -- make local Indian Players better and make them learn to become more professional on both on and off the field. In the meantime we also want to win Trophies because I hate losing. But we need to give the young Players a fair chance to develop.

A lot of Players who had performed exceptionally well for Pune FC last season have signed for other Clubs. How do you plan to fill the void?

The void can be filled with other good Foreign Recruits and we have specific plans of making a start by giving young talented Players a fair chance.

Will your Foreign Recruits form the core of the team?

We will only select Foreign Recruits with the right skills. I mean, they must be an example for everybody, especially for young Players. For instance, how to prepare for a match, take good rest after training, what to eat -- all these aspects are important and Professional Foreign Players must bring this over to younger Players.

Would you implement the Dutch style of play across the youth?

We are trying to make a next step at Pune FC but it will not be easy. This challenge is all about what Mr. Piramal asked me to do, and he will and supports me together with Mr. Tanna.

They never ever once spoke to me about winning the I-League, not even for one minute. Rather, the talk revolved around only development at many levels, more offensive system, defending forward and other methods of training (for example, the Periodisation Model).

Have you had any interaction with Wim Koevermans and Robert Baan?

Mr. Baan has been an old mentor to me. He was not only a good Manager/Coach, but also a very good person. We spoke a few times about the Football and specially the culture in India.

Till now I only asked Wim his opinion about the qualities of some Players. We are both very busy and will have a longer chat as soon as possible.

Any specific targets for the season?

Simple! To be successful in our plans and philosophy so that everybody likes to watch Pune FC.

(Picture courtesy: Pune FC)
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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