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Manuel Retamero Fraile: The Spaniard Looking For New Experience in India

Aizawl FC’s Head Coach, Manuel Retamero Fraile is a man who wears his heart on his sleeves and does not shy from speaking his hearts out. Currently his team is leading the table in 2015/16 Mizoram Premier League and has lost just one match. He takes some time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions on his appointment, team’s current run and their  preparation for all important debut in I-League.

First of all thank you for agreeing for this interview. Before we start, I would like to congratulate you for the amazing run that your team, Aizawl FC is having in this year’s Mizoram Premier League.

You’ve coached in Spain and donned the role of TD in Bahrain as well as coached their U19 team. What made you to choose India as your next destination? How did Aizawl FC happen?

Well, I like to have new experiences, to know different countries, their culture, languages and to see football in different countries…. I worked in Libya, Bahrain and USA. When i was in USA, I received this offer from Aizawl FC and I never have been  here. So I thought. Why not?

How different is Aizawl FC from the other clubs you’ve coached in the past?

They need to learn about how to have a professional club. I think that the club is a familiar club and that is great, but you need to separate this familiar and professional to be better as club and grow up with the time.

You did not have an ideal start with your new team. Losing a couple of pre-season friendlies and also the MFA Super Cup loss against Bethlehem Vengthalang FC. But in MPL the team is playing well and is currently at the top of the table. What changed between then and now?

Obviously. When you start a new job, you need to have time to change. All about the new style, the methodology, exercises, some rules, etc. This is normal. It would be abnormal if we start winning from the first day. Finally, the players are understanding what I want.

Most of the boys in the team have been playing together from long time and are playing under a foreign coach for the first team. How is the team responding to your style of coaching?

Great question. For all is very hard and difficult, because sometimes they don't understand me and I have to spend more time with them. But I know that they want to learn and to improve. With time, I can see the improvement and the players themselves. Work here is very hard. May be, for the future coach, it will be better because all difficult work is when you are starting to change.

Aizawl FC qualified for I-League and will be the first team from the state to do so. As a coach, how are you preparing the boys for the big challenge? What kind of efforts can the fans expect from your team?

This is fantastic for the club, the players, fans and all people in Aizawl. The first aim would be to avoid relegation in the first season itself and we need to have good tools to have a good work. We will have so much work and hard matches. Then we need to improve the team, the staff and to have better facilities. Actually I m working alone and its very difficult for a coach. I would like to improve more. We need to work with similar or same conditions as the other teams or with the minimum facilities to play the next season again the I-LEAGUE.

Last year we had Royal Wahingdoh, who after being promoted from the 2nd Division, managed a third position in I-League. Can we expect Jackichands and Seityasens from your team?

I don't have the answer for this. Only the players can have the answer. I believe in hard work and if the players have self belief in themselves, they can sure do. They need to improve more and more and so does players who are part of National team. See India's FIFA rankings. It shows that we need a lot of improvement.

Is the team that is currently playing in MPL will also be for I-League or will we see some changes, Especially in case of foreign signings?

Obviously we need to change some things. The I-LEAGUE will be different. We need to have the best in all, players, staff, material. But I depend on the money that the club has. We cannot fight with other teams with better facilities, players, more staff. If you are not ready to play the I-LEAGUE you may also get relegated.

How is your stay in Aizawl turning out to be? Are you enjoying the weather of the city?

Well, these are my first days here. I am excited because all its different as my country or other countries that I saw. The city is beautiful with the mountains and good weather  So, Ka lawm lutuk for my new friends here. They do improve my stay here. I would like to have more help about this for the club. When you have a guest in your house or city, its good if you help him not only the first days but also after you are alone. Oh, I remember. I didn't forget the first days when it rained so much. LOL.

In the end, what will be your message to the fans of Aizawl FC and Indian Football who are waiting with bated breath to see your team in I-League?

 I know that its very difficult that you come with us team for all matches in India. But we need your support in Facebook, Twitter. When ever you want you can come and check us practice and support us and I promise, we will work hard and try the best for all Aizawl people and the club Aizawl FC. Vamos¡¡¡¡ AIZAWL FC … Hala AIZAWL . Remember: We play! You play! Together! We are AIZAWL FC.

Thanks a ton, Manuel for sparing your precious time for this interview and wish you and your team
all the best for the remaining season of Mizoram Premier League and hope that your team makes it mark in their first season in top flight.

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