Simon Colosimo: Forging a path for Australian players in India and Asia

PFA president Simon Colosimo details his off-field objectives during the campaign ahead in the I-League, and reflects on a disappointing opening loss for Arthur Papas' Dempo team

Throughout the 2013-14 season, Simon Colosimo will provide Goal Australia readers with exclusive insight into life as a professional footballer in India, his role as president of Professional Footballers Australia and key issues affecting Aussie players at home and abroad.

In this week's issue, Simon details the unique challenges facing Indian football as they seek to balance the I-League with the mid-season IMG-Reliance League, and discusses the impact he hopes to have as a PFA representative overseas.

I'd like to help Indian football raise the standards.

There's fair bit of travelling, it's a tough league for that reason, quite a big country. And then in January there's going to be a break for the IMG-Reliance League. It's very similar to the IPL cricket model.

They'll have the professionalism in and around the club, and the infrastructures that the I-League needs to aspire to. They can both work together, they'll just need to get their timing right. I think it's good for Indian football.

Being here in Dempo, the people love their city, they love everything about Goa. So when push comes to shove, I think the owners of the Goan teams will want to make Goa the better [IMG-R] team, or they'll want to impress and represent Goa in the right way. That could be possible. There's been some discussion about players being loaned out for that little period.

It's not going to happen overnight, but I think the intention's excellent. I think I'd like to be involved. I'd like to be able to give advice to our PFA members not by what I've heard but by what I've seen and felt. If I do play in it, it'll be a case of being able to pass that knowledge on, not from speaking to people but by actually living it.

I'll try to do some work with the PFA here, in some underprivileged areas. There's probably one of the greatest players to play for India, he spent some time in England as well, Baichung Bhutia, he's president of the PFA over here. He does a lot of that work. I'll be doing some of that in my downtime.

And also engaging with our members from the Australian PFA that are everywhere around Asia. It was calculated decision to come here with that aspect of it. If I'm in Australia playing in the A-League you don't have much down-time which means it's a lot harder to get that extra bit of study in and do all these other things.

If there's one thing we've seen in Australia, if everyone's not on the same page, every stakeholder, whether it be players, owners, federation, supporters, if all those stakeholders aren't on the same page then it's a lot harder to succeed.

What we're finding in Australia is that we're finally getting all the stakeholders in line and wanting to get the same outcomes.

Obviously we negotiate and there's difficult times through negotiations but at the end of the day you all want to achieve the same thing.

After a productive pre-season under Australian coach Arthur Papas, Dempo received a rude awakening in the opening round of the I-League, going down 3-0 at home to Shillong Lajong last weekend, and will look to bounce back when they go away to Mumbai and Rangdajied United.

It was a little bit of a shock actually. I thought we played quite well. We were at home, we created a lot more chances than the other team, we just got sucker punched on the counterattack a couple of times. They've got Cornell Glenn, a Trinidad and Tobago international, who scored a couple of great goals for them.

I'm still very positive of what we can achieve this year. It was just one of those days.

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