Sports Desk, Feb 8 (EFE).- Manolo Márquez, Hyderabad FC manager, warned on Tuesday that football players of India’s Super League were risking mental health issues as a result of the strict living conditions the coronavirus pandemic has forced on them.
QUESTION: What is it like living in the Goa bubble?
Answer: We are locked down. Since the Omicron variant arrived, the restrictions are
strong. There are eleven teams and each one is locked up in a different hotel in Goa. We see the same faces every day, talk to the same people and eat the same things. We can see the beach from here but we can’t go. They also don’t let us swim in the hotel pool.
Q: What is a day in the bubble like?
A: Staying at the hotel and going from here to the training or match ground. Nothing more.
Q: How do you handle this situation from a psychological perspective?
A: We are lucky that the results are positive and we are at the top, it is encouraging. I don’t even want to imagine how the teams at the bottom are feeling. Indian soccer players are very good lads and, in this sense, their attitude is not as competitive as European players. They don’t create problems if they don’t play. Imagine someone who is very competitive locked up in a hotel for five months without playing.
Q: India is a country that gives great importance to the mind and mental wellbeing. Is that noticeable in football?
A: It is the great country of yoga and there are many languages and religions, but this does not translate into the sport. Indian soccer players have emotional ups and downs and if they miss two passes they do not rebound emotionally for the rest of the game. A high level sports psychologist would do very well here in India.
Q: Despite the fact that matches are played in one city and behind closed doors, are fans
following this edition of the League with interest?
A: Yes, the League is very well set up on a media level. The Premier League has
a lot of influence here and the television broadcasts are very good. Football is the third sport in India, after cricket, which is the first by far, and kabaddi. Hyderabad, in any case, is one of the teams with the fewest number of fans because it is new.
Q: Does the Indian team have a chance of qualifying for a World Cup in the medium or long term?
A: In my team I have three or four players who are permanent players with the national squad.
They could play a World Cup in the long term, but the problem is that Asia does not have many slots and teams like China, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and Australia are light years away.
However, I do think it is feasible that India could be among the top 10 in Asia soon.EFE