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India U17 Coach De Matos to Continue Post World Cup: Praful Patel

In what is a first of its kind, Indian football is all set to have a National Centre for Excellence – a facility that is expected to host and look after all the different age groups, the senior men’s and women’s team.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:September 28, 2017, 12:11 PM IST
India U17 Coach De Matos to Continue Post World Cup: Praful Patel
File photo of AIFF President Praful Patel. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: In what is a first of its kind, the Indian football team is all set to have a National Centre for Excellence – a facility that is expected to host and look after all the different age groups, the senior men’s and women’s team.

“We aim to kick start this project right after the World Cup in 2018 so that the facility is ready at the earliest for our players,” AIFF President Praful Patel told News18 Sports on the sidelines of an event in the capital.

The facility which will be the home of all the national football teams, is expected to have state of the art facilities that include scope for bettering physical and mental conditioning of the players.

"It may cost us upwards of 100 crore and we hope that FIFA will lend us their support in an initiative like this. The AIFF will also look at private sponsors and the focus will be on getting the teams to play more competitive games,” the AIFF chief who is also part of the FIFA Finance Committee added.

Scouting Programme

Ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the AIFF with the help of the Sports Authority of India had set up an overseas scouting programme.

The initiative which began in the summer of 2016 with it’s first pilot project launched in Dubai, did bear fruit as defender Namit Deshpande from USA and goalkeeper Sunny Dhaliwal from Canada made it through to the final squad of 21.

“We are happy to continue the overseas scouting programme and if there is available talent that complies with the government regulations then we will be more than happy to encourage them as they are also as Indian as we all are,” said Patel.

The AIFF’s Director of Scouting and Chief Operating Officer of the India U-17 World Cup squad said in an interview to the AIFF earlier this month that they intend to broaden the horizon and reach of this overseas scouting programme.

“I wish to expand overseas scouting itself to include age groups other than U-17 for both boys and girls. A calendar will be set for physical scouting activities,” Yadav concluded.

Future course of action

India’s U-17 coach Luis Norton de Matos has repeatedly made it clear that there is a huge gulf in class between his team and those coming to the U-17 World Cup in India in October.

“Most of the teams that are coming here have had their core team play together for close to a decade, all the big teams like Brazil, Spain or even the African teams who are very good at the U-17 age group,” noted de Matos during a press briefing in the national capital.

The Portugese further added, “It is essential to keep this set of boys and this team intact so that they can perform well in the future.”

The AIFF, who have often been on the receiving end of strong criticism, confirmed that they would like to see de Matos continue as coach with this team to groom them for the future.

The AIFF Chief, Praful Patel, said “We want Luis Norton de Matos to continue beyond the World Cup. Even the boys on the team are now thinking of their future beyond this tournament.”

Speaking to News18Sports, Patel made it that there was a plan of action and a roadmap for the future for the national team. The AIFF Chief said that not only will this team be given a competitive environment to be part of, but also another squad or pool of players will be identified to replace this batch.

“First we will continue to work with this team for the future. The AIFF wants them to play together even after the tournament and we will ensure they have a competitive format,” Patel added.

Post the World Cup, one of the AIFF’s plans in fact is to combine players from the U-19 and U-17 teams and field a side in the I-League, which in effect would then give the players a competitive environment and allow them to play together continuously, just like coach de Matos impressed is a necessity.

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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