My interview (remote due to Covid protocols) with Narupon (Nazza) Wild for the Chiang Mai FC English Fanzine. facebook.com/cmfcenglish
Narupon Wild (Nazza) joined Chiang Mai FC at the start of 2021 and made his debut as a substitute at Kasetsart and his full debut in a battling goal-less draw at Khon Kaen United.
Nazza is a global footballer, fluent in English, Dutch and Thai. Born in Thailand, but also with British nationality, he played his early football in Wales, the Netherlands and the USA before moving back to Thailand; specifically to Bangkok United in 2013.
Although his move to Chiang Mai FC may be towards the later stages of his playing career; Nazza has plans. And this is what makes him unusual. A career in coaching is clearly an option – but there are business initiatives in play as well. For more see www.nazzawild.com. Nazza is better prepared than most for a career transition.
With the new season just over a week away Chiang Mai FC English asked Nazza (remotely due to Covid protocols) for his thoughts on the Chiang Mai squad and the new season.
CMFCEng: Nazza, welcome to CMFC English. Our facebook page has 10,000 followers, many outside Thailand, and many with long connections to both the city and its most established football team. It is not always easy for a non-Thai site to keep up to date with all that is happening at our football club so any insights will be welcomed!
Firstly can we ask you why Chiang Mai FC – what brought you here last year and what were your first impressions?
NW: Firstly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to the CMFC community. I loved seeing you guys in the stands making noise and cheering us on.
We have always liked this city and when the opportunity presented it self it was a no Brainer really. My wife and I have always said that if we had to pick a place to live and raise a family in Thailand it would be CM. We love nature and we really like the vibe in CM. My mum also lives up in Mae Hong Son so being close enough for her to come visit the boys is great.
CMFCEng: There have been many changes of personnel in the break between seasons. Rather than dwell on the players that left can you tell us who we should be looking out for in the new squad? Filipovic looks likely to make a big (in every sense) impression. Who should we look out for among the younger players from BG?
NW: lots of new faces in the squad. Also a new Head Coach but the same back room staff. All of our foreign player have changed and we have a lots of young exciting players from BG. The players are gelling well and we are working hard to create the style of play the staff are trying to implement. Our foreign attacking players are solid and they complement each other well. We have some exciting fast Thai players also who can slot in and bring something different. Filipovic is a unit at the back and is a handful for striker and set pieces. Overall we are building a good solid team where everyone understands the system and can slot in and do the job required.
CMFCEng: What can fans expect from coach Pairoj and his style of football?
NW: you guys will just have to see but it will be high energy. We have been training different styles of play for different situation and circumstances but we will still play a back 3 for sure. But a formation is just a formation, we play the system regardless of the lineup.
CMFCEng: Without putting you too much on the spot who are your three tips for promotion from the League this season.
NW: it’s hard to stay. To be honest I haven’t really been following what other teams are doing just really focusing on our own style. I’m confident we can get promoted if we can take what we are doing on the training pitch and transfer it to the game. Plus keep everyone fit and in good condition.
CMFCEng: What is it really like to play a competitive match in an empty stadium? How important was the return of even a limited number of fans last season?
NW: I personally prefer a good crowd especially when they are shouting abuse at you. It gets me going.
You miss the buzz and the energy coming off the fans. It’s super quiet, so you hear a lot more obviously. You don’t get that game day buzz from the fans.
Having you guys in the stadium is what makes the game more energetic especially at home. The vibe and support from the fans make it much more enjoyable. I hope that fans will be allowed in to stadiums even if it’s limited. The stadiums are full in Europe 🙄
CMFCEng: Which two away stadiums are you most looking forward to visiting this season? Why? Please – not Ranong!
NW: definitely not Ranong in the rainy season. It’s more like slip and slide down there 🤣. Rajpracha cause it’s the BG stadium so it is lovely to play on and also Nakorn Pathom again because it’s a nice surface to play on.
CMFCEng: With your studies in sports nutrition – two questions. What do you eat before a game? And secondly are you able to pass your nutrition advice onto the younger players in the group?
NW: I definitely load up on carbs couple of days before and leaner meat. I ease off the fiber & dairy on fame day. Mostly I focus on carbs to get my glycogen stores up in my muscles. The timing of when you eat is also important. And also staying hydrated but not too much.
I try to if they are interested I give them advice which a few of them are. Filipovic is one that loves to take my home made snack for training and games 😁
CMFCEng: How do you see your responsibilities as Vice-Captain?
NW: supporting the captain and staff in how we want to attack the season and keeping everyone focused and aligned. Also support the players mentally and emotionally to help guide them on their journey on and off the pitch.
Being a sound board and listen to the players especially the young ones so they feel heard.
It’s crucial to keep everyone on a positive mindset and most importantly leading by examples especially when things get tough and aren’t going well.
CMFCEng: Can we talk coaching – I believe you are completing your FAW (Football Association of Wales) “C” certificate; is the plan to then work through the UEFA licenses; How much time are you able to spend on your coaching studies? Do you see a coaching career in Thailand or are there interesting opportunities overseas?
NW: it’s something I really want to explore. I love football. I’d love to do my Uefa licenses but who knows when we can travel freely in the future so I will have to continue on with the AFC licences for now. One thing I’m passionate about is youth development and creating a culture of exploring, learning and critical thinking. I’m hoping I can create a training academy here that gives kids the opportunity to develop in a way that’s more than just football but helps them build confidence, creativity and fearlessness in the joy of playing football while building social & leadership skills, friendship while understanding the importance of being part of a team. I have 2 boys myself so creating something like this for them also is very important for their development as human beings.
CMFCEng: Covid has been difficult for so many people in so many ways; unable to see families; financial hardship etc. What is the first place that you will visit when the borders re-open and travel returns to something like its pre-Covid levels?
NW: yea covid has affected a lot of people and I hope we can get past this together and adapt to the new way (which ever way that is).
For now we are looking to find some land and settle down in chaingmai. let everything calm down and subside before we think about going anywhere. If we can travel freely without things being imposed on our freedom probably Italy, Portugal and Spain on our way to visit family in the states. I don’t see that happening any time soon to be honest.
CMFCEng: Finally a few rapid fire one word/name answers:
International: Old Trafford
Other sports that you play? (I am hoping you will say cricket!)
Basketball, Cricket (rarely) mostly football.
Can’t pick one. Tupac Shakur/Tracy Chapman/Drake/Bob Marley/Mozart but I listen to everything just depends on the effect and mood I want to achieve.
Man there are so many to choose from. I love Mexican food. Really Mexican food. I love tacos! First thing I eat when I get off the plane in the states. It’s making me hungry 😂
Wine or beer or neither?
I’m not really a drinker but Ill have a small glass of wine now and the if my wife is having one and I enjoy a craft beer now and then.
You are the stand-in goalkeeper – penalty – do you go left or right?
Watch the hips and…….
Last book that you read?
Listen to podcasts alot. Finding your best by Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks coach) & The power of vulnerability by Rene Brown. The book I read in bed; how to talk so your kids will listen.
Best advice that you have ever been given?
Your time is infinite. Give it away wisely. Spend it with those you love and on things that help you grow. And one that my mum told me when I was young: always be kind, it doesn’t cost you anything.
CMFCEng: Nazza, thank you so much for your time and sharing your thoughts with us. Like all the CMFC players and officials we are so looking forward to the new season and with it the range of emotions that make us all love football. Have a great season.
NW: Thank you so much for the questions.