Mariano Dias was one of the stars of yesteryears. He is the third player from the Salgaocar FC stable to have graduated as Professional License coach and is today Coach Educator with AIFF. Sports Editor AUGUSTO RODRIGUES caught up with Mariano in Fatorda to get a glimpse of the way chartered for coaching in India
Q: Coaching started taking definition in India with the introduction of licensed coaching courses around 1997 and you have been the coach educator since 2015. How far have we reached?
India is moving in the right direction. There are steps that are in place which start from grass root coaching and this set up has helped coach education be more specific. Everybody wants to be a good coach and that can be attained if the basics are good and in football the basics start with grass roots. Everyone cannot be a good coach. Some can be good grass root coaches and others advance to a higher level.
Q: How many years do you think will it take Indian coaches to reach a professional level?
I think it will take Indian coaches another ten to fifteen years to reach the professional level because we started very late. Initially, it was the AFC instructors who came down to give us the basics.
Q: You were a good player and were one amongst the few in Goa to get a Professional coaching license. Do you think it is essential for a coach to be a player first?
Yes. You need to have a playing career to be a coach as you need to have practical knowledge that you can impart to a player. It is easier for a former player to transfer knowledge as a coach. Playing back ground is essential. There can be people with no playing experience who are coaches but it is easier to demonstrate to players when you have the experience of playing.
Q: There was a time when education was kept aside and the emphasis was only on playing. How much has the role of education changed today vis a vis excelling in football?
A good player plays for around 15 years. What does he do after that if he has no education? To be a coach you need to be educated. It is just not about being a good player. Coaching requires education and a good player with a coaching badge has an advantage. Education plays and integral part of growing with football.
Q: Have you, as Coach Educator at anytime come across players who are doing their license for the fun of it?
When I see the candidates, I normally see a lot of interest in them and many of them progress well in their coaching careers. We can see the difference in them before they have come and after they have finished their license. There are times when I have seen some people come for a certificate as their knowledge of the game is not of that level. But these people normally find themselves marginalised.
Q: What are your experiences of a player and as a coach now?
It is pretty different because in coaching you have to plan and be able to transfer those ideas and teach the coaches the methods of coaching. You have to prepare for sessions. It is a different ball game being a player. There you are with the ball and how you master the ball is what makes you as a player.
Q: You are a Pro License coach that won many laurels for Churchill Brothers SC. Would you not like to get back to coaching instead of being a Coach Educator?
I like coaching. I had a good time as a coach because coaching is a very challenging job. Being a Coach Educator and coach are two totally different things and the challenges are different. I am on a contract with AIFF and am enjoying it.
Q: Did you get any offers from I-league clubs?
I had offers from two clubs but as I said, I have a contract with AIFF and I am happy with what I am doing. I will think of coaching once the time comes. [NT]