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‘India are Growing, Great to see them Flourish in Soccer’: Oman coach Erwin Koeman

Erwin Koeman is 57, but he did not look it if he kept nailing those 45-yard shots in the Sports Authority of India’s manicured pitch at Paltan Bazar at Guwahati on Tuesday night.

Koeman is older by a day less than 18 weeks to brother Ronald, who’s the Netherlands’ coach. The brothers are next-generation internationals after daddy Martin, and three have played Dutch team Groningen.

One day following Erwin makes his eponymous debut as Oman head trainer against India, Ronald will be in control of Netherlands’ World Cup qualifier against Germany.

“We have not met much within the last year although we do keep in touch on the telephone.

A midfielder with Holland, that, together with his brother, won the 1988 European championships and played at the 1990 World Cup, Erwin has coached Feyenoord and Hungary and has been set in interim control of Fenerbahce after having an assistant in PSV under Belgian great Eric Gerets. At Premiership clubs Southampton and Everton, Erwin has been Ronald’s helper.

Erwin’s lodgings at Muscat are from the shore, but he has not spent much time. That is because after enrolling a two-year agreement in February with Oman, he joined the group in Germany in July in which they spent three months.

“It (Oman) is a secure location, and the folks are extremely favorable,” said Erwin talking about his new mission. “And we could help develop soccer in Oman.”

Erwin said he’d watched the India-Oman matches in 2015″ however, it had been four decades back and India is growing in soccer. It’s a good idea to see them.”

This is not Erwin’s first trip to India since he played with a PSV Eindhoven group that seen for a series of friendlies in 1991-92 under coach Bobby Robson. In Kerala Blasters’ Dutch trainer Eelco Schattorie, Erwin has yet another relationship with India.

“Everyone connected with football knows every other in Holland,” explained Schattorie before leaving Dubai to get pre-seasons on Tuesday. “I did not know him till he arrived in Oman since I live there.”

So did Schattorie, that took NorthEast United for their first semi-finals of this Indian Super League last term and has coached East Bengal and United SC at Kolkata in a previous stint, provide Erwin any guidance before Thursday’s match?

“No, since this (India) group has shifted. We talk about the way Holland is doing rather and also the simple fact that Ronald doesn’t have a fantastic striker,” explained Schattorie.