Eelco Schattorie, one of the most renowned names in the Indian footballing scene recently got candid as he walked us through his journey and shared his words of wisdom. Here’s the in-depth coverage of the Bossman’s interview with IFTWC –
From Prayag United to Kerala Blasters FC, Eelco has traversed an extensive career in India. Right from coaching some top teams to featuring as Pundit, the dutchman has done it all. When asked about how has the voyage been so far, Eelco said, “I have had a very diverse journey over the 25 years of my career. I almost ended up with clubs that mostly needed safety from relegation and these are extremely difficult jobs.
In India as well, Northeast United and Kerala Blasters were in trouble when I joined, the same was the case with Prayag United. At East Bengal, I only had a short term, 3 months to be precise and I never really got a chance to build anything, unlike other coaches who got substantial time, for instance Lobera at Goa and Mumbai. It’s very frustrating for me as I have the capacity and the ability, having had a lot of experience in India, be it I league or be it the ISL, I believe no one else has clocked more hours and games than me.
It’s frustrating that my straightforwardness and attitude is seen as a problem than considering my coaching abilities, I am very honest and I like to be direct, but maybe now I should try to be more diplomatic, and therefore my journey here has not led where I wanted to be because I am a hundred percent sure that I have more to offer at the highest levels which is still yet to come.”
Indian football has witnessed the evolution for the past decade and Eelco has had a first-hand experience of the same, pointing out the same he said, “Over the years as an expert and as a coach on the pitch the change in Indian football is basically, I see players developing that’s for sure, but the mental part and highly tactical development is still lacking as we saw that with the National Team recently. But having said that India has made a lot of progress. If you really want to make more out of it for the world cup in the long run then they need to start with the bottom (grassroots).
“The clubs in UAE and Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East who are basically smaller (in terms of population) than India, even they started 20-25 years ago but there each club has emphasized on Youth Development and that’s the factor which would differentiate Indian football in the longer run. At the moment the football did evolve it became better because of the ISL, that’s for sure,” he added.
The former East Bengal coach was quite elated with the inclusion of the Bengali Giants in the Indian Super League. Having witnessed the derby in person back in the days, Eelco mentioned, “The Derby is fantastic in any footballing country. The only downside this year was the absence of the people. Once the fans are back in the stands, it will definitely get another dimension altogether. I am very happy that we had the Kolkata Derby in the ISL, it’s very special when it comes to East Bengal and Mohun Bagan!”
Many players have had their heydays under Eelco’s guidance, players like Rowllin Borges and Bartholomew Ogbeche who formed the crux of the Northeast United set up back in the days, went on to lift the ISL title with Mumbai City FC last season. When asked about such individual characters in his team, Eelco quipped, “If you look at my career there were many players who did really well under me if you go back in the days Mohammed Rafiq, CK Vineeth, and many other players were there with me.
Specifically, about Ogbeche and Borges, everyone knew that Borges was a good player but under me, he really flourished and that led him to have a good deal with Mumbai and eventually to the Championship this year. I still think Mumbai did not use him properly because he can go up front and score more goals as he’s a very attacking player. Ogbeche speaks for himself, he’s a scoring striker I think he should have played more games, but overall I am happy that both of these players were with me and they did well as their success continued.”