Monday, July 6, 2009

Surprised with David Booth's comments (football)

I'm quite surprised at David Booth's comments (

Wonder why he fails to see the composition of the Indian team beyond 2011? Does he know the average age of the national team? Does he know that only seven out of the 27 probables will be over 30? - which means Bob has built a team for beyond 2011.

Moreover, all the players who are not part of the current camp but have been called up by Bob for various national camps in the past 18 months or so will still only be 25-29 by 2012!!! Also, look at the advantages of having your core team play together for so many years. Now Bob or any coach would not deny great prospects from turning up in national colours.

What more can be expected from the national team coach? – choose a team of 19 or 20 year olds?? We need to groom the youngsters through various age-groups, give them international exposure, make them part of national camps, give more first team appearances at club level, and organize more age-group tournaments, etc… Also is it the responsibility of the national team coach to groom youngsters for the future? If so, then what are the I-League “professional” clubs, AIFF and the state associations doing to groom youngsters?

Before we sit down and analyze the national team…what has David done for the youngsters? Now do you groom the youngsters directly at international level or league level? It is a known fact that most of the youngsters at Mumbai FC were busy warming the bench day in-day out!!! Also, if David was so concerned about Indian football, why was Abhishek Yadav (current Indian team striker) and Sampath Kumar (a future Indian team striker) missing from the team sheet most of the times??

The new team David’s coaching (Mahindra United)now has four or five promising strikers, viz., Sushil Kumar (7 goals last season), Rafi, Thoi Singh, Surajit and Varin. David has signed the less effective Subair Ali (formerly Chirag United – 4 goals last season) – what does this imply? What is the message conveyed to the youngsters? We would love to see the likes of Sushil and Rafi in Mahindra and hopefully Indian colours.

Wonder why David took a dig at Bob! I heard Bob say something about coaches in the I-League favoring foreign strikers and not giving opportunities to Indian strikers like Abhishek Yadav (*hint hint*)

It is true that clubs are not generating significant revenue that they can boast about from spectators. How many clubs have a proper website? How many clubs have proper fan club, community, merchandising programs? While money is an important aspect, is that the only factor? Mumbai FC is backed by a multi-million dollar company (Essel Group) and so are most of the clubs!

Another reason for low spectator turnout in many cases is due to the lack of community involvement or the absence of popular local players. Last season, Mumbai FC (for example) had most of their stars coming from outside Mumbai and even Maharashtra - only 7 or 8 out of 30 were from the state!

By the way, talking about youngsters reminds me…at the Subroto Cup (for u-17) in 2003, a school team from Car Nicobar was runners-up. The players from that team will be 21-23 years old now. Wonder how many of them are plying their trade in professional teams…!

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