The Lakshya Series: An introduction to Rob Baan's ambitious master-plan

With a bleak present, it is high-time India works on its future, and a master-plan to that effect has been developed by AIFF Technical Director, Robert Baan. has a look...

In times like these, when Indian football continues to plummet to new lows, the fans often turn to memories of the past, when the national team was deserving of its tag of the Blue Tigers.

However while the present might not make for a rosy reading, one can aspire to a brighter future. To that end, Robert Baan, the Technical Director of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has come up with an elaborate plan, titled ‘Lakshya’, whose aim is to revolutionize the way the game is played and conducted in the country, with the final target of making the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

While whether that aim is realistic, is questionable, but if what the Dutchman is preaching, is followed to the word, then it would definitely take India some way towards becoming a force in Asia atleast.

In a bid to make the plans of Rob Baan available to the general public in a more simplified manner, has decided to begin a series, where we discuss various nuances of his master-plan.

Hence in the first part of this series, we have a look at what the former Australian Technical Director is trying to convey in his introduction of his pet project.

Resolving all the initial queries about the need to write-up such a book, in the first chapter itself, Baan tackles the questions regarding the need of a master-plan, for whom it was meant, the method that one has to go about, to successfully execute it and the values that must be followed, for success in the long-term.

This Master Plan shows players, coaches, referees, clubs, officials and other stakeholders a potential road to success, and how all of them need to be on the same page, if they are to succeed.

Baan hopes to develop a standard 'Indian Playing Style'...

It further reiterates that for Indian football to succeed, a definitive ‘Indian Playing Style’ needs to be developed, which coaches from the very grassroots levels need to inculcate in their wards.

The manner to go about with such an ambitious plan is also sketched out. It involves major responsibilities being undertaken by key stakeholders in the game, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the state associations and IMG-Reliance. With their help, Baan hopes to help strengthen the core of the game, which involves the national football tournaments like the I-League, Federation Cup etc, alongwith a robust youth development program and a national curriculum.

To achieve this, simultaneously a strong support cast of well learned coaches, referees, fitness trainers, amongst others need to be moulded, in a two-pronged strategy, to help rapidly improve the present pathetic standard of football in India.

By doing this, the Dutchman hopes to make football ‘fun’ for the youngsters looking to take-up the game, while also motivating the players, who with the help of an exciting and robust system, would go on to become icons in the country.

To sum it up, Baan hopes that the Indian system will learn from the top footballing countries in the world, as well as nations like Japan, which have witnessed a meteoric rise in recent times.

Such a status in the game is not a matter of luck or a co-incidence, but the fruit of having spent years developing the general football infrastructure, having a great youth programme alongwith a robust support system of coaches, referees, and plenty of top level competitions, where the talented players can shine.

To conclude his introduction, the 69 year old reiterates that the whole idea of the project would be to develop a high quality ‘Indian Style of Play’ and in his own words, “The master-plan is an attempt at developing a pathway for boys and girls, coaches and referees that will help each individual to reach his or her goals.”

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