February 26, 2021

Chennaiyin FC head coach Csaba Laszlo hoping for adequate time during ISL pre-season

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The Hungarian coach feels the interest in Indian football is increasing and that bodes well for the game….

Csaba Laszlo is among the latest entrants into the world of Indian football after being named as Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Chennaiyin FC‘s head coach for the upcoming season.

The Hungarian brings with him a wealth of experience from his time in Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Uganda, Scotland, Romania and more. Laszlo might be taking up a job in Asia for the very first time but has done his due diligence before accepting the Chennaiyin offer.

“Normally before I take an offer I look at everything and I knew a lot about the team and Indian football,” he told Goal. “It is not new for me. When you are a coach at this level, it is your duty to have a good network and know football around the world.

“Football is the same everywhere. You have the pitch and 11 players play for your team. Sometimes, the quality is different but the language of football is the same,” he added.

He has been in touch with compatriot Krisztián Vadócz who turned out for the likes of FC Pune City (now defunct) and Mumbai City FC in the past apart from a few coaches from Serbia and Croatia who are familiar with Indian football.

“I’m well informed about Indian football. I know coaches and players who have been here so it is not new for me.

“Krisztián Vadócz was in India. He told me a lot about Indian football. I also talked to some coaches from Serbia and Croatia who gave me a lot of information. Generally, Indian football is up and coming. Though in India, football is not the first sport but the interest is rising up. To be part of it is important for me,” Laszlo explained.

Adapting to different challenges is nothing new for the former Uganda and Lithuania national team coach. However, this time around, he has to face several adversities that the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up.

The upcoming season of the ISL is set to be held at a centralised venue in Goa and will be played behind closed doors. In addition to that, travel restrictions currently in place means that it will be a while before the coach can come to India and meet up with his team.

But the 56-year-old is quite positive about the changes the pandemic has forced upon the ISL.

“I am a very positive person. It is different but you have to face different challenges and adapt. The only thing that will affect football might be the lack of fans inside the stadium. You always want supporters inside the stadium because without them, it is not so rich.

“But if you can stay with your team together for six months, you have the chance to improve the spirit and grow more to be a real family. It is a positive for me. If you are a positive human, you can face negativity and win over it. I don’t think it will affect us. The (changed) circumstances are there but we need to find the best solution.”

However, the time the clubs get for pre-season is crucial, according to the coach. The ISL clubs will most likely be conducting their pre-season in Goa only after travelling down to the state in advance and integrate themselves into the bio-bubble that has been planned.

Laszlo hopes the schedule will allow for as much time as possible in order to conduct adequate pre-season training which is very crucial for him to mould his team as he wants.

“The problem will be to see the training pitches and facilities and acclimatise. We will need to see and assess the balls, equipment and other facilities and then adapt our methods.

“We have to prepare the team. The time will be a problem of course with the short pre-season. But it is not in my hand. It is difficult to change what is not in your hands,” he conceded.

“We hope that there will be enough time to prepare the team. If you have six weeks before the league starts, everyone will be happy.”

The Hungarian feels that a shorter pre-season will be to the detriment to the league, given the chance of injuries to players.

“If the time is shorter, it will reduce the quality of the league. You will need to reduce chances of injury with adequate practice but I hope that we get good time after coming into the country.”