‘Hosting U-17 WC will be a big boost for Indian football’

MUMBAI, Aug 17: Football will get a big boost in the country if India succeeds in its bid to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, a top functionary of AIFF said today.

“It (hosting of FIFA U-17 World Cup) will be a big boost for Indian football and give players and all the coaches a lot of motivation to work even harder to ensure that we have a competitive team,” said Scott O’Donnell, who is the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Technical Director of Academies and Director of Coach Education.

In case India hosts the event, the national Under-17 squad would get a direct entry into the tournament.

The Australian is conducting the AIFF ‘D’ Licence course along with the federation’s Technical Director Rob Baan and AIFF instructors from Maharashtra’s state association WIFA.

India are currently ranked 168th in the world but O’Donnell felt too much was made of the ranking, which he said can be improved once the country defeats a couple of higher ranked teams.

“If you look at the FIFA ranking (for India) it’s self explanatory, but too much emphasis is put on rankings. For a country like India, if you win a couple of games against higher ranked teams, rankings would improve,” said O’Donnell, who had been the national coach of Cambodia for four years.

He said Indian players were short of match play as compared to most other countries and a master plan will be unveiled by Baan next week to overcome this deficiency.

“In India players don’t play enough, they play may be 15-16 games a year. In Australia it’s 40 and Europe 50 or 60 and the league goes on for eight months. For under 13 of 14, it depends on which state (the player belongs). It may be 1-2 -3 weeks. It’s not enough. You got to play all the time.

“Technical director Baan is going to launch his master plan next Tuesday. He will detail in what we are going to do about (rectifying) it,” he said. (PTI)