Seychelles’ first National Football Team coach returns ‘home’

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Seychelles’ first National Football Team coach returns ‘home’ Empty Seychelles’ first National Football Team coach returns ‘home’

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:47 pm

Reminiscing over the roots of the game

Seychelles’ first National Football Team coach returns ‘home’

Interview by Jean Larue and Niki Gower TODAY



It was 1969, and the tiny colony of Seychelles formed its first national football team and brought in Mr. Adrian Fisher from the United Kingdom as coach. Forty-four years later, Mr. Fisher is back in the country to pay a visit to close friend and former player in that inaugural team Mr. Rolly Baker, and get in touch with some of the other footballers from that era.

TODAY in Seychelles caught up with Mr. Fisher to find out more about his time here and his view on the state of Seychelles’ football, past and present.

TODAY: Good Day Mr. Fisher. Firstly, what brought you to Seychelles over 40 years ago and what was your role in the development of football in the country?

Adrian Fisher: In 1969, the president of the soccer federation felt that they would like to have a national team selected, trained and sent over to East Africa in order to develop and enhance the standard of the sport in Seychelles. He approached the Governor of Seychelles at the time who contacted the U.K.’s Ministry of Overseas Development. They advertised the post as a volunteer position, and I came here under the volunteer programme initially. I did my first tour with the team as a volunteer and after about year and half I was asked to stay on as an employee, which I accepted and worked as the team’s coach for another two years. That was between 1969 and 1973, so I had almost four years as the national coach.

TODAY: During that time, what international games were you and your team involved in?

Adrian Fisher: Our first trip was to Mombasa in Kenya. That was quite an interesting trip for us. Eddie Micock the team’s centre forward at the time and I went on the Lady Esmé, which back then was the government ferry between Mahé and Praslin.

The boat was a flat bottomed boat and travelling across the Indian Ocean in it was quite something. It took us seven days to get to Mombasa. The rest of the team came across on a vessel called The State of Haryana, which locally was also known as the “State of Decay.” But they turned up, and we met them safely in Mombasa. Later, whilst the airport was under construction, however, we were able to fly out in a DC3 to Mauritius via Madagascar. We played a few games in Mauritius which we did quite well in.

On the way home we went back through Madagascar where the French Ambassador had arranged a match for us against the Champion Club of Madagascar. We didn’t do too well in that one do to the high altitude, but the boys still gave a good account of themselves in that game. In 1972 during the Seychelles Festival, we had a home game against the Mauritian Fire Brigade team at the old stadium. During my tenure I think we played about six games – we lost a couple, drew a couple and won a couple – but considering that we never knew the strength of any of the teams beforehand, I feel that the guys did very, very well. Coming up shortly, in 2020, it will be the 50th anniversary of the national team and I hope to see the landmark achievement recognised.

TODAY: What do you think is the current state of Seychelles’ football?

Adrian Fisher: The only game I have had a chance to see recently was a match between St. Michel and Tusker. I am very impressed in the way in which Saint Michel was able to take on the Kenyan team, which was physically much stronger. I thought that they might run into a few problems in the second half because of the pace of the game. The shape of the side in the midfield seemed to get a little bit wayward from time-to- time and consequently there was a lot of pressure put on the left wing area of the game and it got very tight. Tusker was able to recognise that and close that down quickly, and automatically you had three against one. That made it difficult for St. Michel to penetrate their defence. They needed to have a little more width so that they would have been able to stretch the ball from left to right. The right side of the field wasn’t used very much. But overall, considering all the factors, I think St. Michel did very well. There were a lot of good points with the speed of the players, the ability to lay balls off, to turn quickly and to move into spaces. I was very impressed with all that, and I think the goal keeping was superb.

TODAY: With regards to Football in the country, what then has changed in the last forty years?

Adrian Fisher: When I came to Seychelles in September 1969 there were very few players that actually had soccer boots. The result of this back then was that they kicked the ball differently to the modern day player. They used their instep more, using the wider part of their foot to kick the ball, and this meant that control was often a problem. Also the players had trouble using the top part of their bare-feet so the ball was often going in the air – there was a lot more “aerial ping-pong” football than what there is today. Boots were something that we bought in as the national team developed and players became more interested in making that team. It was then up to me to train the guys to play in boots, and get to know the different ways of kicking a ball whilst earing them. All of a sudden, there were so many more methods of being able to accurately control and pass the ball with boots n.

Another was wet weather. Nowadays you have the Astroturf, but back then when we were playing and it was really wet you couldn’t stand up; you would lose your balance so easily and slip and slide all over the place. To intercept a ball - which would have been a simple matter wearing boots – became a very difficult thing. However, comparing now and then is like comparing apples and pears. Not only does Seychelles have a much more mobile and flexible team now, but there is a different playing surface, equipment and balls. The whole game has moved forward in the last forty years, both in a coaching and technological perspective, so it is really difficult to compare.

TODAY: Are you still involved with football today?

Adrian Fisher: No, not at the moment. I am semi-retired. These days I just watch and support the game regularly.

TODAY: These days the debate on goal-line technology is a popular topic in football. What are your thoughts?

Adrian Fisher: I think it is very necessary. It is something which has risen as a result of television technology now being able to pick up goals that have been disallowed; whereas before the technology, it wasn’t possible to pick these things up. These issues have always been in existence but it’s now that everyone can see it so it becomes necessary to change the rules and move with the times. When you consider the importance of the difference between winning or losing a world cup match due to human error, you see how necessary it is. Therefore, I feel it needs to be adopted at all levels of the game, as far as it can be.

TODAY: Football aside, what are some of the other major changes that you have seen since your first visit here in 1969?

Adrian Fisher: Apart from the traffic (laughs)? Well the major change has been the amount of development that has taken place. When I was here, all the reclaimed land was just coral and now there are buildings everywhere. I used to know how to get anywhere in Seychelles but not anymore.

TODAY: Mr. Fisher, thank you very much for your time and sharing your interesting story with our readers. Enjoy your stay and we hope to see you back in the country again soon.



Standing left to right: (President S.F.A) Robert Frichot, Donald Marie, James Adam,
Rolly Baker, Gerard Pelissier, Julien Larame, Gilbert Servina, Mathew Docteur, (Coach) Adrian Fisher
Kneeling left to right: Eddie Micock, Anthony Hoarau, Philip Kilindo, J. Jean-Louis,
Dawson Sinon (captain) Louis Woodcock


Source: today.sc 2-26-12

http://www.seychellesweekly.com/February%2026,%202013/soci_reminiscing_over_the%20roote.html

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