Futsal World Cup: Hermans calls Spain favorites

Off the pitch - Interview Vic Hermans

Vic Hermans
image: ©

As we all know the Futsal world championship is due in just a few weeks and the tense is slightly rising. Thailand's Futsal league season 2012-13 saw its kick off last week and along the game-day we took the opportunity to talk to Thai head coach Vic Hermans.

The countdown to the Futsal World Cup is winding down relentlessly and Thai national team coach Hermans is left with a good 2-week to prepare his players for the big one. A special problem once more is the unfathomably bad planning at the FA, because the last two test games already date back seven weeks. And right in the middle of a time, where full concentration should be with the preparation for the World Cup 2012, the new Thai Futsal League season saw its kick-off for only one single matchday. At least, finally Hermans could observe his players after a long time under competition conditions on the parquet. How is the state of preparation for the World Cup and how often you were able to train with your players after the two games against Spain?

Vic Hermans: Well, training...that was the only thing we were able to do. Always Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. But since the games against Spain, we did not had any warm-up game. The next one is on 21 October [against Egypt in Bangkok, ed.]. And just after that one, I know where we stand. But I have to name my 14-man squad before and send the remaining 21 players home. That's a real shame!

I had hoped, actually that we have a four-country tournament at the beginning of October. Now we have the four games during the last 10 days before the World Cup and I have to worry that there is one or the other player injures himself. That's why I wanted to have the season starting in September with a full month of preparation during October. That's a bit of topsy-turvy world, but you have to deal with it in this part of the world. How do you rate the Thai clubs compared to last year? Can you see some improvements?

Vic Hermans: Like me, you have seen the games yesterday, it was top. Today the first two ties went out goalless, where one could think „oh, they pretty good defensively“. However, that is not necessarily the case, rather than a conversion of chances. Also the new teams today played very offensively. To succeed internationally, however, one must think defensively. Here in Thailand very attractive Futsal is played and I find it a good thing. But if one wants to win trophies, one need to be good in defense. What is your opinion on the foreign players in the league?

Vic Hermans: In their homelands, so especially Brazil, they are all rather third-string players. None of them are clearly better than the Thai players. The Thais always look after the foreigners, but they do not need this at all. They have enough quality. I know a Dutch player, who was the best in the tournament in Kuwait [AFC Futsal Club Championship, ed.] and I wanted to see him with a club here. He was interested, but he he hasn't heard anything from the club and I am no agent. If such a player would come to play in Thailand, the audience would stand upright. How is the cooperation with the clubs?

Vic Hermans: It could be better. Especially with regards to the world championship, more dedication of some coaches would have be desirable. With some I do have the feeling they wish I would fail, so that they themselves can take the post. With the next FIFA seminar on 30 October, which I hold for the coaches here, I will address this issue. Who else, beside Chonburi-RBAC, has chances to win the domestic championship?

Vic Hermans: In any case Thai Port. If the referee just would have had whistled better, by no means Thai Port would have to be down 3-0 at half time. He has not given a penalty kick and a not given the foul which led to one goal. But this is maybe also a problem with the mentality of the Thai Port players, the lack of self-confidence to turn such a game around. Though I am no big expert concerning the Futsal rules, but I think the Referees here allow the players too much. Do you see it the same way?

Vic Hermans: I think the same. Internationally the game is not as rough as it is here. I think, it is quite good that there is a FIFA seminar for referees here again after the world championship. Ahead of the competition, do you have any plans to take the team aside and peruse the rules of the game?

Vic Hermans: Yes, especially with the defenders I want to work on it. If they lose the ball, one has also seen this at league matches, they try to recapture the ball immediately and risk a foul. But if they lose the ball in opponent's half, there is no need for it. Because they still have the chance to run back and intercept the opponents player. At the end, such things can become important, not to collect five or six fouls which then lead to a penalty for the opponent. There we have some job to do. But I know that from myself, from my active career, until a coach has taught me this. How do you rate Thailand's opponents at the group stage?

Vic Hermans: Costa Rica is a hot team. They have won the CONCACAF championship in Guatemala and have played the final in front of 7,000 spectators against the home team. Their game is very South American, so if it is necessary, they completely throw oneself into it. The same goes on for Paraguay which have eliminated Brazil in the qualification tournament [3-5 in the semis, ed.]

Against the Ukraine it also will becomes very difficult. They always play very chilly, and they never get knocked out of one's stride. They don't show any emotions. For us, a lot will depend on the first game. If we can beat Costa Rica, it can give us a push. If we should lose this, it means a lot of work for me.  Who is your top favorite to win the World Cup.

Vic Hermans: Spain Why not Brazil?

Vic Hermans: They are too creative. Spain plays much more completely. If one looks at Brazil, one likes the game they play. But when it comes to play all or nothing, I see Spain in front. Italy could provide for a surprise, maybe also Paraguay. With the Spaniards, on their website I have seen, they predict Iran, Spain, Brazil and Italy. It's a good thing nobody named us here, because it means nobody counting on us (winks). But seriously, the opening game becomes the most important one for us. If we can pass the group stage, everything can happen. This is similar to the Asian Championships in Dubai. I studied Lebanon and thought that they have a very good team. So I have said to my players: "If we win against them, we can also beat Iran" and we have beat them.

Indeed then the mentality of the players emerged again, who were contented with the achieved. At this stage you need to have the willing to be ready to go one step further. Now in the final phase before the world championship the whole team need to act in concert. If there is one player not willing to do so, I have no use for him and I will send him home. Whom of your players do you estimate strong enough to play abroad?

Vic Hermans:
There are some. Suphawut Thuenklang, for example. He could play everywhere in the top leagues. The last 20% which he still lacks are only the physical constitution and mentality. After the first game against Spain I have told him that I found it unbelievable that he has not scored a goal against them. Then with the second game he has hit three times. However, with the world championship we completely must be present from the outset. We cannot start the tournament with the second game. We have to make it clear to Costa Rica immediately, that we are here the boss and that we run the game. Also the goalkeepers here in Thailand, I find them superb, really. I do not understand, why Chonburi-RBAC has got a Vietnamese. Also Apiwat Chamcharoen of Lampang which plays now for Chonburi, could keep up internationally. Even though he is so small?

Vic Hermans:  Yes. One could see this against Iran, how he ran through the defenders. There, his size was an advantage for him. Nattawut Madjalan of Thai Port could also play everywhere. But if there is no league competition, how the players should draw attention? But certainly In Europe many clubs just think, these are "only" Thais instead of coming here and scouting the players. On the other hand, it is the question whether the Thai players want to move abroad. But from Thuenklang I know this. Chonburi-RBAC strengthen his squad again for the new season. Does the league become dull?

Vic Hermans: One can sees this in football as well. The big clubs buying the best players from the small clubs. I have asked the players, whether they want to sit on the bench or whether they want to play? At RBAC only the same 6-7 players playing at the end with the remaining only watching. And I think, after one year, they are off with another club anyway. I have also told them if they want to play in the national team, they must play in the league. Who does not play there, cannot expect to play for Thailand. However, concerning the league, I think that play-off's should be introduced here at the end of the season with the four best teams to enter. Then at least the champion is not certain after the seventh matchday.
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