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The Sikkimese Sniper wants the states to have tournaments such as Nike MUPC conducted on a regular basis…

Bhaichung Bhutia stated that if the ideas put forth by the technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) aren’t put in practice, there is no point in having a specialized board of experts putting their mind together on how to take Indian football to the next level.

The technical committee comprises of Savio Messias, Henry Menezes, Lalnghinglova Hmar and Anil Kumar alongside Bhutia who is the chairperson.

The committee had a meeting on November 4 last year wherein they suggested that the contracts of Robert Baan, the technical director and Wim Koevermans be extended. They also recommended that there needs to be a review of the scouting system in different state associations, foreigners in the I-League, clubs to have their own academies and so on.

However apart from the contract extensions, not much progress has been made.

On being questioned as to what role would the technical committee play with regards to the U-17 World Cup which will be hosted in the country in 2017, Bhutia said, “First you would like is to good meeting with the president of the AIFF (Praful Patel). We want to put our suggestions and things in front which the technical committee has already met once. We have plans to meet more often and put more suggestions for the federation so that things are implemented. Otherwise if the committee is there and the suggestions are not being implemented, then it becomes a no point. 

“We are looking at federation to really now arrange for a proper meeting with the president and advise him on what way we think we need to move in terms of grassroot and coaching.”

With Nike’s Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) being conducted for the ninth consecutive season, Bhutia wants the state associations to have similar tournaments so as to increase the talent pool.

“I think this (Nike MUPC) is very important especially you are hosting the U-17 World Cup in 2017. You have got to have many such competitions.  It mustn’t just be at the all-India level but within the states as well.  The state associations must be working to do a lot more of these tournaments to bring out the best. Grassroot level tournaments and training is what we really want India to focus on,” he opined.

Amongst the youngsters plying their trade in the I-League, Bhutia handpicked Alywn George of Dempo SC as his worthy successor.

“If you are looking at young players, I think Alwyn George is there. Also we have one of the best defenders in India who I think will be one of the best player in future – Sandesh Jhingan. I took him when he was 19 and I have seen him grow. He is the best player in future but he is a defender.”

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