Sometimes the action goes on outside the field of play. During the Women’s Water Polo Round Robin at the 28th Southeast Asian Games, the Head Coach of the Thailand National Team, Daniele Ferri, has emerged as the most vocal and animated character in the entire tournament. He has been seen gesticulating, shouting and even jumping up and down during the matches – even distracting the audience at times.
One of Ferri’s (center) many expressions. Photo: David Chew PS / SINGSOC.
“I need them to communicate,” he smiles sheepishly, explaining that he is simply very passionate about the sport. “They cannot relax. If they want to win, they must always play a hundred per cent.”
Having coached the Thai team (both men and women’s) for two years, the Italian native admits that his coaching journey has taught him as much as he has taught the team. For instance, when he first started, there were some cultural differences that he had to adjust to.
“Big differences!” Ferri exclaimed. “In Italy, we like to plan for the future, but in Thailand, they live day-by-day.”
Ferri, showing us a more serious side to him during the interview. Photo: Woon Jiemin/SINGSOC.
The cultural differences clearly do not deter him from doing his job to the best of his ability. Compared to other countries, he says that Thailand’s lacking support for water polo makes it difficult for the sport to grow.
“The problem about Thailand is that there are very few players. If one or two key players stop playing, we will have a big problem. Compared to Singapore or Indonesia’s organisation, which is very good – they always have plans for the future. I think Thailand can follow in their footsteps,” Ferri explained.
It seems that Thailand’s results in water polo this SEA Games will have a big impact on the sport’s future in the country.
“Thailand needs to promote water polo. It is not popular – the interest is zero. Zero,” he emphasised. “My dream is not important, you know, just to win. Of course, if you win, people will be more interested,” he admitted.
How far can Team Thailand go? Photo: Bjorn Ho/ SINGSOC.
Even though Thailand has few players, he is confident in his players, who he says are intelligent and driven. So far, the women’s team has won all three of their round robin matches, with Singapore being their last opponent on Monday, 15 June 2015 at 16:00.
“For Singapore, they are playing at home so they must win. They must show,” Ferri explained while gritting his teeth in demonstration. “For Singapore, winning is an item they must have. For us, it would be a dream.”
Whatever the result, he is proud of the young team, whose average age is 18. Last year, at the TYR 2nd Southeast Asian Swimming Championships, they were slated as the team to beat in this SEA Games. (Source: Adelene Wong, TODAY, June 19 2014. “Gold for S’pore Women but Thais Impress.”). “This will be a very good experience for them.”
As for what he thinks is the future for this Thai women’s team, he smiles, “I don’t know. I don’t know,” showing the influence of the Thai’s go-with-the-flow attitude on him.
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.