We’re happy to be underdogs: Aizwal FC coach Manuel Fraile

Aizawl FC coach Manuel Retamero FraileKOLKATA: Be it Second Division League or Hero I-League, the debutants never fail to surprise us. Aizawl FC, winners of Second Division League 2014-15, started their Hero I-League campaign winning many hearts. The win remained elusive against champions Mohun Bagan in their own lair, but the Mizoram outfit showed they are not here to make the numbers.  Manuel Retamero Fraile spoke on the road ahead, his side and brand of football.


It’s Aizawl FC’s first stint in Hero I-League and you are the person-in-charge. Are you feeling the pressure?
Definitely there is immense pressure. But we have to face it. We’re here to carry out our duty and no matter what will be the outcome we’ll accept it with a big heart.

You’ve played Hero I-League champions at home, now you are going to face Bengaluru FC. Is the schedule going against your boys at the start of the season?
Not really. This week or the next one, you’ve to face all of them. In a league, you can’t really look for a hideout. The teams don’t have a say in the scheduling and it’s not at all detrimental to face the super powers during the build up. We could not earned a point in Kolkata, nevertheless it was a good show against the giants Mohun Bagan.

Aizawl FC are renowned for their goal scoring ability and lightning speed. Will the fans find a ‘Tiki-taka’ football now?
Frankly speaking, I’m one of the few blatant supporters of Tiki-taka who hails from Madrid (smiles). On a serious note, fans always enjoy to watch fast and flawless football. Our Mizoram players were playing in a different strategy. My first duty was to get to the roots and still we’re digging deep to get to know each other more. We’ll adopt the best strategy, whichever be it, to churn out the desired result on a match day.

How are the foreigners doing along with the Mizo boys?
Everyone needs time to get into the team. Emmanuel and Alfred are there with the team for a good time and they are almost Mizo now (laughs). Atsushi joined us late, but the guy is one of the fast-learning ones and definitely he’ll add more brutality in the attacking third.

Although it was a hearty display by Aizawl FC, the result didn’t come your way. Are you afraid of a panicky dressing room after next game week?
Definitely it’s going to be an acid test but not a ‘make or break’ situation at all. It’s just one week. Even if we can’t garner one point from the next outing against Bengaluru FC, we’ll have 16 matches left in the league. First and foremost the team needs to regroup and play out of their skins. None is going to bet on us to win against them and we’re happy to be the underdogs.

David, a 23 years old, is going to lead Aizawl FC in Hero I-League 2015-16. Will he be able to handle the immense pressure of the armband?
He might be a 23 years old chap, but believe me, he is outstanding when it comes to reading the game. Keep an eye on him, the little fella is going to toy with the opponent’s defence in the league. We’re sure that he’s going to prove his worth and won’t shy away from his duties. I just want the boys to enjoy every moment and leave the ground holding their heads high.

By Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay
I-League Media