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Oman 1-0 India: Familiar problems plague India

16:53 GMT 20/11/2019
Oman India
The Blue Tigers struggled to break the Oman defence as they could hardly create a move of note…

India suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Oman on Tuesday evening as their chances of making it into the next round of 2022 World Cup qualifiers went up in smoke. Yes, it was an offside goal and the linesman got his call completely wrong but that shouldn’t take away the fact that India couldn’t muster a clear-cut opportunity.

Much has been spoken about the need to change the style of play. The players too are enjoying the confidence of the new coach who prefers to play the ball along the ground as opposed to hoofing it to the strikers.

However, India continues to stutter in front of goal even when the rare opportunity knocks. What we have witnessed is that not much has changed in terms of India’s fortunes despite seeing a change of personnel or players who are in good form for their clubs. The gulf in quality between India’s domestic competitions and international stage is also evident.

It all comes down to the basics. This set of players aren’t coming from a footballing system where they played under a coach from a very young age. Most of these players took up the game only in teenage years and their development and skills on the ball still leaves a lot to be desired.

India were no match for Oman’s physicality but neither did India’s best players on the ball come close to having an impact. This was the same team against whom India dominated in Guwahati just two months back but lost due to some individual errors at the back in the final 10 minutes.

Injuries did hamper India but the lack of coordination in attack was baffling. The manner in which the ball is given away, you have got to realize that the basic skills aren’t in place.

India have struggled to convince when they are up against a half decent international team for quite a while and under several coaches.

While it is easy to point finger and state that the selection wasn’t right or India’s style isn’t good or the coach had no tactics, the crux of the matter is that our players too need to show some responsibility, especially in attack.

Not all coaches are poor, not all players selected are unworthy. Maybe this is the standard we are at and it will take a while for us to improve.