Behind the Game with Sugitesh Mandrekar

 In Grassroots

In conversation with Sugitesh Mandrekar, an inspiring young coach who works tirelessly towards all-round development of his youth team.

What is the main objective of this grassroots program?

The main objective of grassroots is to promote football among children at an early, an ignite passion for the sport.
What are the qualities you are trying to build among these kids?

My core training strategy revolves around developing co-ordination between the trainees, instilling respect for the game with a disciplined approach towards football, and building self-confidence required to achieve their goals. Every child is unique and hence has different aspirations; it’s my job to help them realize these aspirations.

Do you have a particular coaching style or philosophy?
My style of play revolves around an attacking mindset, focused on keeping the ball at the players’ feet constantly. My ideal formation would range from a 4-3-3 or 4-1-3-2; the idea is to build spirited players who play spectacular football that’s entertaining to watch. A high pressure attacking ratio would also mean that we are less prone to conceding goals.
Any coaches that you look up to or whose style you admire?

Internationally, I like Luis Enrique of Barcelona, owing to the creativity and balance that he adds to the game of football. As far as Indian coaches go, Derrick Pereira is my idol. Derrick has managed to turn the fate of many teams around and is fairly experienced when it comes to working with big club and big players.

How do you measure success as a coach?
Success cannot be measured in terms of trophies gathering dust in your cabinet. To me, it’s the development of the player as a whole, building a well-rounded footballer who will be an asset to any team he plays for. I consider the achievements of my players to be my achievements as well, so I hope to help them grow as individuals first and then great footballers.
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