24 Ghanta/Swarup Dutta
Philippe De Ridder, a renowned coach from Belgium, has earlier managed Indian clubs (East Bengal, Prayag United and United Sikkim) in the I-League. He is currently a technical director in Reitlang FC, Mizoram Premier League. He is also fond of making cartoons and does so for various publications.
In an exclusive chat with Swarup Dutta of Zee 24 Ghanta, Ridder shared his thoughts on the Indian Super League and also about his future plans as a cartoonist.
Excerpts from the interview:
Where are you nowadays? I saw on the internet that you are now coaching the team of Reitlang FC. How was the experience?
I'm now in China, Beijing, working as a technical director for DAYU FC - a new club. I am helping them to build a professional structure for next season. Six months ago, I was in Georgia, in between Russia and Turkey, working as Technical director for ADELI FC, 2nd division, in Batumi, a team that was in trouble. I helped them get out of trouble. Before Georgia, I was in Reitlang FC, 1st Div Mizoram, we had a fantastic time. I was there for the second round of championship. I saved them from relegation as they were at the bottom with only 3 points, with 9 players that never played in a league. I played as a player too.
Do you have any offers from any ISL club?
Do you watch ISL matches?
Only through the internet.
What type of team is Reitlang FC? How was your performance last year? Which tournament do you have next and what are your targets?
As I said, it was a fantastic experience. They offered me a position as a player, then I became quickly the technical director/coach.
Do you think ISL helped in improving Indian football?
It depends on what objective Indian football and ISL have. If it's for bringing football to the popularity of cricket in India, yes , they did a good job. If it's for bringing more people to the stadiums, yes, they did a great job. If it's to bring more professional entertainment in football, yes they did a good job. If it's to develop players to play at a higher level of football, not yet. If it's to improve the national team's FIFA ranking, not yet. If it's to give a platform to the best Indian players to play, not yet. If it's to show the way forward to an I-league club and encourage them to become more professional, yes, they did a good job.
Which team do you support?
I support teams where some friends are playing. I don't support a particular team but see it more for friends.
What about your career as a cartoonist? Do you have any targets in mind?
My father was a football player. My mother had the artistic aptitude. I started designing for Management Center Europe (MCE), in Brussels. I went to Metropolitan Life Insurance, where they had Snoopy. In New York, I designed cartoons to illustrate president's conferences, then for banks like Morgan Stanley. I did some for Bauhaus, in New Jersey, couple of them for English clients. I did two expositions in Brussels - Hommage a Hugo Praet.
I did some in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, some in India with the Bengal posts. I'm preparing an exposition in Beijing - Tribute to Tintin. It would be good if someone would be interested in India to host it. I am working on some short animation films to illustrate some football quotes and philosophy.
If you have the chance to create a cartoon character about any footballer, then who would be your first choice and why?
Ronaldo (Brazilian) - the best ever player I've seen. After Superman, Batman, Spiderman...Ronaldoman.
Who is the future of Belgian football?
Won't name any one player in particular. Belgium has a balanced team now. Some very good players are coming up, so normally they will be there for the next decade.