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Former India skipper also called for time to be given to Koevermans so that he can get results eventually…

On being asked as to what has stunted or stopped the development of Indian football, Bhaichung Bhutia, the chairman of the Technical Committee, couldn’t have been more precise in his reply as he pointed fingers at the personnel employed at the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

“The right people, right professionals need to enter Federations. Right now they are lacking ideas,” He told The Mumbai Mirror.

With India dishing several listless performances at the ongoing SAFF Championship, many have expressed their displeasure with coach Wim Koevermans’ strategy which has yet to pay dividends. India have been nothing but plain lucky in getting into the final four of the tournament.

“He's (Koevermans) in a very difficult situation. When he came in, seven-to-eight players retired from international football. So it's bound to be difficult for Wim at the moment. But I think we should give him time and I'm sure he'll get us the results.”

Just over three weeks before the start of the I-League, Pailan Arrows has been disbanded while Mumbai Tigers have chosen to ply their trade in the second division. Bhutia explained that this ought to get people thinking as to whether the I-League is the right format for Indian football to bring in the crowds.

“I-League clubs have to understand that the tournament has not done what it should have for the betterment of Indian football. But nobody is thinking about the larger picture of Indian football. I used to play I-League till last year. Even with (Sunil) Chhetri and me in the league it could not bring in sponsors and crowds.”

Bhaichung has been amongst the most vocal in his support for IMG-Reliance’s IPL-style tournament and explained his reasons for doing so.

“I'm not saying the Reliance-IMG tournament will change the future of Indian football. But we are in a situation where there is nothing happening. I'm not saying the new tournament is going to come in and then India will qualify for the World Cup and all. But there is nothing wrong in taking a chance. If we fail we are going to be in the same condition that we are in right now. So why not take a chance? “

The I-League clubs have opted not to take anyone associated with IMG-Reliance’s tournament into their squad for the 2013-14 season. The players have had to make a choice in this case, as to whether to play in the country’s top division league or a two-month tournament. While Gouramangi Moirangthem and Subrata Paul have opted for the latter option, India skipper Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh preferred to join an I-League club.

“If you don't have good players it will hamper any tournament. It will be very sad to see players like Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh not playing. But Reliance has also signed 40 talented players. Players like Subrata Paul and Gouromangi Singh who might not get to play in the I-League. It will affect the quality of the I-League also.”

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