Rob Baan, the technical director of India spoke at length on various factors that he felt granted teams success at the international stage. He however explicitly stated that for Indian football's capability to be achieved, there needs to be a commitment to progress in the long term.
Speaking to The Herald, from Margao in Goa where he had been invited to conduct the Asian Football Confederations (AFC) B-licence course, Baan explained, “FIFA rankings in general gives the actual picture of standard of football in the country. Spain were number 1, whereas the Netherlands were pushed down to ninth as they lost a few games. It is possible for India to make the top hundred in a couple of years but we have to start working from the grassroots level. The focus has to be on the youth development, infrastructure, academies and the education of coaches.”
Baan also pointed out that the quality of opposition played against in international friendlies also mattered. “There are no pints for losing. You only gain points only by winning. You cannot play against Spain and lose by a huge margin. So you must go step by step to rise in the rankings.”
“We have to play possession football. You cannot play tactical football without having technique. We lack technique because we don’t give kids the freedom to play organized football,” elucidated Baan, on what he thought of Wim Koevermans coached India’s latest tactic of possession play.
When asked about his opinion on the I-League’s structure in India, Baan specified, “I-League competition should spread throughout the country to identify talent and fanbase. Too many teams are coming from few states so it’s important that quality teams come from all over the country. Onlg then will we have more players at the national level."
He highlighted the key reason for the Indian team’s debacle at the recently concluded South Asian Football Federation’s (SAFF) championship in Nepal, pointing his finger at poor finishing which resulted in a flurry of missed chances.
Finally he concluded by whipping the increase in the number of foreigners stipulated to play per team in the I-League, expiating, “Having two quality foreign players is okay as it gives chances to local players barring the goalkeeper, but playing three foreigners would bring down the number of Indian players that could harm the Indian talent.”
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