Wim Koevermans has heaped praise on IMG-Reliance's, the commercial and marketing partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), efforts to make football a popular game in the country.
The remark wouldn’t go down well with the I-League clubs who have been voicing their angst over the fact that IMG-Reliance haven’t allegedly taken any concrete steps to develop and overhaul the national league but instead preferred to kickstart a ‘promotional’ tournament for two-months in the hope that it shall capture the attention of the Indians. Moreover the plan for the proposed tournament too is in its nascent stage with doubts being raised by themselves, in the meeting with the clubs on Thursday, as to whether it shall succeed or not in the first place.
“In the last couple of years, India has started taking the right steps towards making football a top sport in the country. The ‘Vision 2026’ roadmap presented by IMG-Reliance is very ambitious and in the right direction,” wrote Koevermans in his column in The Times of India.
Koevermans supports IMG-Reliance's 'Vision 2026'
It must be pointed that Koevermans was suggested for the coach’s job of the Indian national team by fellow Dutchman Rob Baan, who serves as the technical director of the AIFF. In his master plan for Indian football, which was unveiled at the 75th anniversary celebrations of the AIFF on Tuesday, Baan spoke of how India could target a place in the 2022 World Cup if the right structures are put in place over a period of time.
Interestingly Koevermans has preferred to back the idea of IMG-Reliance, who believe that the Indians can make it into 2026 World Cup.
“Their (IMG-Reliance’s) long term commitment and readiness in making the kind of investment required, plans to set up an Elite Academy in Vadodara and improve infrastructure will definitely help India as a football nation,” he mentioned.
The former youth coach of Netherlands stated that the Indians have the talent and the technique and with the right coaching, things can only get better.
“The Indian team’s confident showing in the opening match of the Nehru Cup against Syria was a pleasant surprise for many but most importantly, it showed that the future of Indian football is bright and in safe hands. There was never any doubt about the pool of talent in the country. All it needs is a focused effort towards development of football across the length and breadth of India and nurturing the talent available,” he wrote.
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