Quarantine making Indian Arrows footballers mentally tougher: Coach

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Kolkata, Jan 2 (IANS) As the 2021 edition of the I-League is set to kick off on Saturday, several teams are on the verge of ending their seven-day room quarantine period here. While staying put in a room all day is certainly a challenging prospect, the sides have come up with different plans to keep the players engaged and stay sharp physically and mentally.

Indian Arrows head coach Venkatesh Shanmugam said that the quarantine period has made his young guns “mentally tougher” and shared how the team is organising various activities to keep the players active.

“Having to stay confined to a room can take a toll and all the players being young as well makes it difficult for sure but it is something that has to be done. No doubt, the experience is making the boys mentally tougher and also helping us grow together as a team. We have gone through quarantine before as well and once it is over, I am confident that all the players will be hungry to begin training and be determined to give their best,” he said.

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“We are having daily fitness sessions over video conferencing, where players can also interact with each other. We have given one football each in every room and are organising small activities like juggling competitions etc. The players have been told to minimise the time they spend on their beds.”

At a virtual media interaction on Wednesday, Chennai City FC head coach Satyasagara spoke about his team’s routine during quarantine, which includes a yoga session in the morning, and detailed its impact and benefits as well.

“We are conducting two sessions a day through video calling – yoga in the morning and fitness in the evening. Starting quarantine again after being on the training pitch will mentally affect the players for sure but we’re keeping them in good shape with our sessions and also speaking with them individually,” Satyasagara informed.

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“We introduced yoga for the players a few seasons back and not only does it help in injury prevention but also in improving concentration, focus and building mental strength. In this challenging period of quarantine, it will certainly help us a lot as well,” he said.

Leading Manipur-based side TRAU FC this season will be Head Coach Nandakumar Singh and he expressed that despite many of his players being in such conditions for the first time, he is confident that his players will adapt and perform to their optimum levels on the pitch when the action begins.

“Our team’s morale is high and all the boys are very hungry to give their best in the Hero I-League. Many of them are staying in such a hotel and away from home for the first time, and the food is also slightly different from what they are used to at their homes,” he opined.

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“However, I am confident that the players will adapt and perform at their best during the matches. The staff is communicating constantly with the boys and they are happy. They have equipment such as bands and skipping ropes in their rooms to work out and we are doing different types of training such as cardio, muscle and strength.”

Churchill Brothers FC Goa coach Fernando Santiago Varela mentioned that the team is working to focus on improving their game even while being in quarantine and be ready.

“The AIFF has put together a bio-bubble for the tournament and even though we are in quarantine, we are focused on how we can improve even in this time and how we can get the players ready and focused for the matches once they kick-off,” he expressed.

The teams will resume training once their quarantine periods end.

–IANS

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