New Delhi: “a good team must be strong in all departments…” Not only that, the bench strength must be strong enough to accommodate the right players at the right time. This is just another part of the philosophy of Shillong Lajong FC head Coach Thangboi Singto, as he looks forward to another season of success in the I-League.
In a tactical conversation with www.i-league.org, the Manipuri Gaffer comments on his off-season conditioning program, the vast youth players available in Lajong, his expectations from his men, and more.
How is the pre-season training going?
The pre-season started last Monday, i.e. July 21, and it has been really smooth so far. All the Players are working hard and really enjoying Training after the Break.
What are the sectors that you are giving much emphasis on during the pre-season training?
A lot of them actually. From Fitness to Team Building, as well as the Style of Play to the Bonding among Players; we need to become one compact unit and for that, as sooner as we start focusing on these aspects, the better.
What tactics and formations are you keen on applying?
We have been playing 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 last season. We are also keen on working on Different Tactical Formations depending on the Type of Players we have in the Squad.
The Style and Formations employed by other Teams we will play against in the future will also be a factor in determining our tactics.
Is there going to be any change from the way the team played last season. If so, in what departments?
It is a bit early to comment on what changes we will bring in our Team Approach as a whole. However, we did make a few New Signings and so we do need to work on Different Aspects of the Game as a Team to bring the Right Changes, if necessary.
What are you looking forward to with the recent signings prior to the start of the new I-League season?
We have signed Players who we really felt could give us more Strength and Depth in the Team.
In Aibor Khongjee, we have a Player who recently made a debut with the National Team as a Centre-Back. He will give us more Security and Better Quality in Defence.
In Seiminlen Doungel (presently with Indian Team in Preparation for Asian Games), a Talented Youngster who provides us with more Attacking Sting and thrust Upfront.
Also Rehenesh T P in the Goal and David Ngaihte on the Flanks strengthens Our Team more. They will help us to Achieve Higher Goals in the League.
According to you, which is the key – defence, midfield or the attack?
A Good Team must be Strong in All Departments. Also, a Good Bench Strength is a much needed Aspect for Success.
What is your off-season conditioning program like?
During off-season, the Players cannot be Monitored as much as they will be during the Season. However, all the players are given a set of Exercise Program and a Dietary Chart which they must follow during the Break.
Weights and other Physiological Tests are taken once they come back and Comparisons are done of the same. This was taken just before Break.
How is the youth scenario in the Club at the moment?
We believe in Giving Our Youth an Opportunity to Prove themselves at the Highest Level. So this year, our Team Consists of 20 Talented Players who are below the age of 20. We wish them the Best and Hope they Prove themselves sooner than Later.
What qualities do you look for in a young player?
Technical Ability, Tactical Sense, Discipline On-and-Off the Field, Respect and Hunger for the Beautiful Game and a Player who Fights for the Team till the last Whistle.
According to you, what should a good Youth Development Program focus on?
Apart from All the Technical and Tactical Development, a Youth Program must focus on the Overall Personality Development of Young Players. Education is as Important as Playing.
Mental Development is also a major aspect. The ability to take Victories and Defeats in the Right Way is also Important.
What are your plans for hiring assistants? Will you retain any current staff or keen on getting new staff?
We look at Staff who Love and Respect the Game, and are Dedicated to the Profession. They should be willing to Keep Learning and Improving and be a complete Team Person.
As of now, we are Retaining most of Our Staff but are also on the lookout for new staff to fill in certain Positions in the Team.
Finally, what expectations are you having from the current crop of players?
I believe the Current Players will take Shillong Lajong FC to the Next Level and Improve on Our Past Performances.