Gangtok, April 28, 2012
He is popularly known as “Indi” amongst his fans, close friends and colleagues. He is an art director, photographer, cartoonist, dancer, musician, saxophone player and a sports journalist. He is a very popular figure in the city of Kolkata and the media.
After the successful voyage in the 2nd division I league, when isikkim.com interacted with the coach of the United Sikkim Football Club Phillippe De Ridder who hails from Brussels, Belgium expressed his satisfaction over the USFC going into the I League. When he came to Sikkim appointed as the coach on December 3 2011, he had truly said “I am here to win”.
De Ridder played his professional football career in Belgium with the club RWD Molenbeek and also represented his country Belgium from the Under 12 to Under 20 stage. He has also featured in the Under 18 European Championship for his country. In 1986, a serious injury to both the knee and ankle stalled his playing career which forced him to retire.
After finishing his short lived playing career De Ridder started coaching. He began in the USA where he got his youth coaching degree. He then moved on the Brazil, Spain, and Argentina where he got his lessons in first-team coaching.
In 2005, he became manager of one of the most successful clubs of Indian Football, East Bengal in mid season. Under his coaching, East Bengal became the runners-up of the now defunct National Football League. His most notable event while with East Bengal was the victory of East Bengal against Mohun Bagan in the biggest Derby in Indian Football in front of 90,000 people. East Bengal then won the Super Cup in a one match face off tournament against the 2005-06 NFL Champions Dempo, beating them by a solitary goal.
Besides football, Ridder in India, he worked for the Times of India & Bartaman as expert guest, for the Bengal Post as Cartoonist as well as football expert in 2010 World cup CHANNEL
He can speak around six languages out of which English, French, Dutch & Italian are the ones he can speak fluently. The others being, Portuguese and German.
De Ridder talking to isikkim.com said that after winning and being champion, it always feels very good. A sense of achievement is there. I feel very proud to have been part of the people who succeeded to put the state of Sikkim and Gangtok on the elite Indian football map said Ridder. He said that a cocktail of understanding/vision of the management, compromise, relative discipline, player’s choices, tactical options, improvisation in difficult times has been the elements for the success.
Targeting the I league Ridder said that USFC will put together a good team with the budget the club has will remain in the I league.
Visualizing the football lovers in Sikkim, the coach said that there are plenty of passionate football lovers in Sikkim and Sikkim one be the hubs of the football lover in the country and at the same time he quoted “but don’t forget it took Barcelona more than 25 years to put together a team who performs at top level. Patience is a virtue”
Highlighting on the needs that the State should carry future in future he stressed on building a real professional football structure environment, meeting AFC criteria’s in terms of infrastructure, building local and foreign youth development, scouting system, marketing and advertising both nationally and internationally and creation of membership and fan base development and sponsorship increment.
In order to boost the sport in the State level Ridder said that the USFC is planning to open a USFC football school open to all local boys where elite football training will be given as well as developing the actual academy.