Indian football has massive potential: Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky
Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky spoke about the potential in Indian players and his vision for the club.
Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky believes that Indian football players have significant potential to compete in leagues abroad in the coming years. Kratky was appointed head coach of the Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC in December, succeeding former head coach Des Buckingham.
This marks Kratky's inaugural role as a head coach in his professional football career. Previously, he worked as an academy coach and assistant coach with the Australian side Melbourne City FC, the same club under the City Football Group (CFG) as Mumbai City FC. Incidentally, Kratky secured the position as Melbourne City FC's assistant coach in October 2021, replacing Buckingham, who took over the reins at Mumbai City FC.
Despite joining the club midway through the season, Kratky's tenure has been positively received. The Islanders have suffered only one defeat in seven games under his leadership and currently sit in fourth place in the ISL standings. In the ongoing Kalinga Super Cup, Mumbai City FC top their group after two wins, needing just a draw against Chennaiyin FC in their final game to secure a spot in the semi-finals.
Reflecting on his experience in Indian football, Kratky draws parallels with his time in Australia and expressed optimism about the potential for Indian players to progress further in their game.
“I’m very impressed, to be honest. It’s very, very similar to Australia, and the only difference is some rules when you can’t play all six foreigners. So I have to get my head around it. But in terms of quality, the foreigners and even local Indian players, especially in Mumbai, are very good. They have potential, they have room for improvement, which makes me excited about the work here. We have players in the national team. We have six players with the national team," he stated in an interview with Firstpost.
"The more you play, the better you get, but with our system and in our way. Indian football has massive potential, and I believe if we do good jobs for years and years in development and help the young players, there will be few Indian players in a period of five or 10 years, knocking on the door in the big competitions, like in Australia. So we just need to do a good job and support the young players," he added.
During his time with Mumbai City FC, Kratky has not only secured positive results but has also provided opportunities to numerous Indian talents who were struggling for game time under Buckingham. Notable examples include Valpuia, Ayush Chikkara, Gurkirat Singh, Franklin Nazareth, and Nathan Rodrigues.
Last three games:— Mumbai City FC (@MumbaiCityFC) January 19, 2024
8️⃣ goals scored ✅
7️⃣ goals scored by Indians ✅
6️⃣ goals scored by Indians under 23 ✅#TheIslanders’ young gems are hitting the mark under Petr Kratky! 💪🇮🇳#AamchiCity 🔵 pic.twitter.com/ECSz4z4Gy0
The Islanders set high standards last season by winning the ISL League in style, shattering numerous records. Mumbai City FC also reached the Durand Cup final last season, narrowly missing out on the title to Bengaluru FC. Although relatively new to his position as head coach, Kratky will be expected to replicate the team's previous success.
Acknowledging the contribution of young players to the team's success in the previous campaign, Kratky is committed to continuing the development of these talents. He affirmed the team's intent to work with young players and provide them with opportunities while maintaining a balance between development and winning.
"We want to work with young players. We want to give them opportunities. But we have to balance it. Because we need to perform. We need to win as well. We are in a club where we want to win. We want to have trophies. So we have to support young players. We will give them the opportunity," he expressed.
He further explained: "If they deserve it, they work hard, the opportunity will come. I don’t know when. I can’t promise you will play next week or the week after, but the opportunity will come. If they work hard and have good character and a good attitude, they will get opportunities. And they’re showing it on a daily basis. So I’m not afraid to play young players. I’m not afraid, you know, to change foreigners. If they deserve it, they will play. I’m here to support them, support the youngsters, because my background, it’s in junior development."