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I-League 2017: Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos - 'I am never satisfied with the players I have'

12:46 am AEDT 29/11/17
Luis Norton de Matos Cropped
The Portuguese tactician wants the Indian Arrows project to continue for at least a decade

The Indian Arrows project of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that first ran from 2010-13 in the I-League has been revived with the team all set to face Chennai City FC on Wednesday.

The team will comprise of Luis Norton de Matos' India U-17 players who recently participated in the U-17 World Cup in India along with a mix of India U-19 players who were under Floyd Pinto, who will be the Portuguese's assistant at Arrows.

Players like Pronay Halder, Narayan Das, Pritam Kotal, Halicharan Narzary, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu came through thanks to the previous Arrows initiative and De Matos shared his vision on what he wishes to achieve the current set of youngsters.

"If I talk about two years, it's important that we play in the I-League this season and the next. When we finish this I-League and until the next season, we have a gap of about five months. It is important that we have good exposure trips in Asia and Europe to build this program with friendly games," said the 63-year-old.

"All the processes have a start. If we don't take risks, we would not know if this is a good idea or not. This is the moment to keep these four categories (U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19) together, perhaps for 10 years till they are around 26 years.

"By then our goal will be to compete against the best teams in Asia like Japan, South Korea and Australia. There are few teams that are very far (better) from our level at the moment."

Questioned over the possibility of adding a few names other than the present squad at his disposal, De Matos replied in the affirmative.

“As a coach, I am never satisfied with the players I have. The reason I say this is, this programme will be a success if there is good collaboration between the AIFF and academies because I cannot be everywhere. To find the right profile of players will be useful for this project. Of course, we are open to getting the best players in the country. Right now, for sure there are fantastic players in Manipur, Goa, Chennai and Kolkata. I hope in my time in India, I'll have the possibility to watch players in various categories and check if there are players who can join the group,” said De Matos.

"When I watch an Indian player, I need to compare him with Europe. I worked in 2012 with some of the best players in Portugal who are now at Manchester United or Barcelona.  I know the level was very high from Indian academies," the Portuguese signed off.