Zdenek Zeman has given his typically forthright views on football, tactics, leadership and why “it’s becoming a more individual sport.”
The Roma Coach is well known for his 4-3-3 system and all-attack approach, so was the guest at the Festival of Collective Intelligence.
“As a Coach I have responsibility for what happens on the field and off it, which is why I try to earn leadership status,” said Zeman.
“It is said people fear me, but there is no specific recipe for taking control. You have to set a good example.
“Football is a team game, but as time goes on it’s becoming a more individual sport, as players think first about their own needs and then those of the squad.”
“I like to train players who are in a way naive. Some have fixated ideas, but once who take them off and get a result, then you are happy. Arguments with players don’t last long, as there is a lot of harmony in football.”
Zeman is legendary for his attacking approach, even if it means he is yet to win a major title.
“In football you must achieve numerical results, but also entertain the people who come to see us. Talent counts for a great deal in football, but without it you can still go forward. Someone who treats the ball well is called an artist, but 11 artists might not necessarily beat 11 artisans. There has to be a mix of the two categories.
“Someone who has talent cannot just rest on their laurels, but must instead work every day to improve. Football is a collective sport and the most talented must also work to help those who are less gifted.”
Finally, Zeman was asked what he would bring from the world of football to politics in the current economic crisis.
“I’d start by bringing rules. We have them on the field and must respect those rules. I’d get rid of those who say ‘I’d like to, but I can’t’ and bring in those who say ‘I want to and I will.’ In Italy the situation is dramatic, but many people don’t realise or don’t care. I tell the young people to wake up and get moving.”