Hyderabad FC are having a wonderful season, contrary to what was expected by many people. Who knew that a club which had a devastating debut season might end up competing for the playoffs this season! The Nizams have impressed everyone by playing good tactical football using young Indian players.
Hyderabad FC have also been very good with their foreign signings this season. One of them was Roland Alberg who joined the league in January with impressive stats backing his credentials.
Alberg is a versatile footballer capable of playing in multiple positions. He is not only an impressive attacking midfielder who gives decisive passes throughout the game but he also helps in the defence. The right-footed player is an adept passer with decent speed, having the ability to score goals with his heavy shot.
IFTWC got an opportunity to have a talk with Roland Alberg as the midfielder shared his thoughts on the league, the club, players and the coach.
What were your thoughts and expectations about the league and the club before coming over here?
I spoke to a few players who played over here. They told me from the beginning that it is a very good league, with a good mix of foreign and Indian players. I watched the highlights too. It was convincing and that is why I came in.
How is the Indian Super League compared to Eerste Division?
In Netherlands, we try to play more tactical and ball possession play, here you have to keep going for the whole 90 minutes. On one side it is good and on the other side you get many goals like 3 and 4. It is exciting for 90 minutes, it goes up and down.
It is more physical, I have to get used to it. It is a short time but it is a good experience for me, hopefully, I can keep doing good.
In your time with Hyderabad FC, what is the best thing which you have experienced till now?
I had a warm welcome. The players, technical staff, the people in the club everyone are good to me. We have a very good team, I think our power is that we don’t have specific groups based on nationalities, we are one team and we do everything together as a family and that is our strength. This is the reason why we have been unbeaten for 10 games and that is what I like about the team.
I am a person who interacts with every person no matter the age or nationality of an individual, I crack jokes with the players, I tried to learn a few words in Hindi and Spanish, I teach the other players a few Dutch words!
How is the environment in the dressing room?
It is really nice, we are focussed, we know what we want as a team, last year the team was in the last position and now we are fighting for the playoffs spot with two games left to play. It is really important for everyone to fight together as a team defensively and offensively, which can help us reach the semifinals and who knows, the finals.
This is a good opportunity to show everyone that we are a good team. We have a good coach, we have good technical staff, we have a good mix of players.
What are your thoughts about the coach?
Manolo Marquez is a very good coach, he knows what he wants, he is very clear and direct. He explains what he really wants and he watches every game of the ISL. It is a good thing that he knows what he wants. He is a big coach with a big name which is nice.
What do you think about the controversial refereeing this season?
As a football player you might not agree with being given a foul or a card but the most important thing that we do is we control ourselves. We don’t complain about the decisions of the referees after the game, we try to win the game. After 90 minutes you give your best and you don’t complain, that is what we follow, everyone makes mistakes, even players too. Some teams in the league do the opposite, they blame everyone but we are not like that, we have to respect the decisions of the referees and that is the most important thing.
Are you finding any difficulties in adjusting to the life/climate in India?
After the 14 days quarantine, it was difficult to come out. I had to stay in the room, keep myself fit and then I had to get used to the climate, the humidity. I have a short time to prove myself but I am convinced that I will grow in the league and grow in the team. Hopefully, we can get into the semifinal or the final and win the cup.
You had two wonderful seasons in the MLS when you were with Philadelphia Union, how did it feel playing in such a globally renowned league against the likes of Pirlo and other legends?
It was an amazing experience. They had a lot of big players like Drogba, Pirlo, Kaka, Schweinsteiger, Steven Gerrard. It was an honor to play against them. MLS is a very good league, it is growing and getting better every year. Philadelphia was a beautiful city and close to New York.
What are your thoughts about continuing your career in India, with Hyderabad FC?
Hyderabad FC loaned me till the end of the season but it is a dream for me to continue in the ISL. I think it is a good opportunity if I can show myself more and more.
” have been in many big leagues, now it is difficult because we are playing without fans, sometimes it feels like a friendly game. I would love to stay in India and experience the feeling with all the fans. I think it is a real honour for me.
Are you going to play for the Suriname National Team for the coming continental competitions?
I have got a call up for the national team, for the World Cup qualifications next month in Suriname. The first team we play is the Cayman Islands and the second one is in America against Aruba. Next month it will be two really important games for Suriname.
The second round of the World Cup qualifiers are in June and then we are going to play Bermuda and Canada. It is an honour playing for your country. It is an honour for me to represent my country and I am happy that the coach has selected me.