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Steps to improve football in India

Sunil Chhetri

Chennai, January 6: Who would have thought that India, a country with almost 1.4 billion people would fail to develop 11 world class footballers who could compete at the highest level?

There are some really good players on the streets who have the potential to become world beaters, but the problem is that there is no proper system to identify them.

It is here that football dominant countries in Europe like Germany, Spain, Italy etc score over us.

Those countries have scouts whose only job is to find and identify talents who have the potential to become stars with the right coaching. Vinicius Junior, who plays for Real Madrid was identified by the club's scouts at the age of 16 and was signed in May, 2017.

"Not only the grassroots, but also the overall development of Indian football has been good. The hard part is reaching the top 10 in Asia is still far. No matter how fast we improve, the improvement seems small as compared to other Asian powers," said Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri.

"Where we want to reach is still far, but we're heading in the right direction. We aren't good enough in identifying talent. We're far better than we were in the last 10 years, but the road is still very far. It isn't the time of congratulating ourselves and being satisfied. We've to keep working hard," added the Bengaluru FC talisman.

One way to improve the condition of Indian football is to establish good coaching facilities at the grass-roots level itself. Scouts need to be hired with the task of finding local talent in the streets.

Another step is to find corporate investment. Reliance have invested in football over the years, but that has not yielded the desired results.

With money, more academies can be set up, the infrastructure can be developed and in turn, this can also be used to advertise new campaigns and tournaments. Celebrity endorsement with actors and players who have shown their love for the game must also be increased.

Another important step is to provide foreign exposure to the players, with more international friendlies and providing the opportunity to play at foreign clubs.

Although playing at the World Cup is still a dream, with the right level of coaching and identification of talent, India can definitely make it big one day.

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 9:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 6, 2021