“Club is in a very good position for the future”- Arthur Papas

15 July 2014

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Dempo players returned to preseason training on Tuesday as coach Arthur Papas and his team started their preparations for I-League 2014-15. Most of the players were present for the training while some of the absentees were away for the Asian Games preparatory camp in Bangalore.

We caught up with the head coach to find out more about the team and the upcoming season.

  1. New season has new challenges, how do you see the challenges in the upcoming season.

We have some immediate challenges due to the fact that we will not have a full squad to train with and prepare purely for the I-League. This is due to having the highest number of players of any I-League clubs involved in the U23 Asian Games Squad and then followed by a large number of our players playing in the ISL for the Goa Franchise.

I am supportive of this for various reasons but also understand the fact that this hinders our Dempo SC preparations without a shadow of doubt. I feel that if we are able to navigate through this period successfully we will find ourselves challenging on every front this season.

  1. What are the learning’s you want to take from the previous season? 

We are always learning and for this reason we completed a very comprehensive review of last season and in the areas we can improve. As a group and as a club we all understand that we must continue to evolve in every facet of our operations, an example of this is how last season when I arrived we had almost 1/4 of the group unable to take part in the first training session due to injuries from the previous season and yet tomorrow when we begin we have every player available bar one ready to train.

This shows we are addressing and improving in many aspects of the football department. From a technical point of view our game model will become more and more ingrained and we will become even more flexible tactically for the coming season as the continuity of maintaining the majority of the playing group will allow us to train on more detailed concepts and scenarios and this can only be a positive for the coming season.

  1. What is going to be your primary focus with respect to the preseason training? 

Our primary focus surrounds the continued improvement of the training culture and our style of play, a new season is a new beginning for all involved and I look forward to collaborating with the players who were retained, returning and also the new players who I really hope will go on to have a great career representing this great club. Our strength in the second half of the season was the unity of the group and I am excited to get on the field and work with each and every one of them again. Success on game day comes from creating the correct training environment and culture and we will be working hard to ensure we are successful this season.

  1. What are the learning’s you want to take from the previous season? 

One of the objectives set by our Chairman Mr. Dempo was to provide a platform for the top Indian talents at Dempo SC. I am really pleased with how we have managed to recruit what I consider the most talented young players both from Goa and also India into our squad.

At the end of last season although we barely mentioned it a report stated that Dempo SC averaged the youngest team in the I-League at season’s end and this was only possible due to the Chairman’s vision and our belief that given the opportunity these boys can become very good first team players. A perfect example of how we evolved in this area was when we had 8 players called up in the preliminary U23 Asian Games squad, when I arrived the club only had only one  player who could have been considered for this squad.

  1. What is your opinion on the young players in the senior squad?

Dempo SC as it stands today has without a doubt a squad filled with high quality young Indian players and the club is in a very good position for the future. All the young players have to understand that they must raise the bar and not only be happy to be at Dempo but be willing to push very senior players out of the way if they are going to play.

  1. What is your message to the Dempo fans?

My message to our loyal fans is to thank them for being patient and not wavering in their support for this great club in what was a period of change last season. There is so much for them to be excited about for the future when you look at the makeup of our squad, and they got a glimpse of this future towards the end of last season when the team performed at a very high level and played an exciting brand of football at a high intensity, I assure all supporters that it is only going to get better this coming season!