Sunday, August 14, 2005

Uproar as India goes down to Fiji

Fiji Islands beat India 1-0 in a friendly at Churchill Park, Laukota, on Friday. The shock loss to a small Pacific state stunned Indian veterens such as Santo Mitra, former coach and technical director. “Yes, losing is part of sport. But going down to teams like Pakistan and Fiji calls for some serious introspection," he said.

Mitra is particularly pushing for a foreign national coach. "The AIFF can have someone from Iran, Iraq or even South Korea or Japan ... These coaches are much advanced now and they have handled teams and players who have done well in tougher environs ... First we must aim at doing well in Asia and then think of the next phase," he said as quoted by New India Press.

On Thursday, AIFF president Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi announced targets for "Vision Indian". Based on the Asian Football Confederation program, seven to 10 schools will be identified as training grounds for future footballers while coaching development for 15-19 year-olds will take place at Kolkata and seniors at Bangalore. Development programs for women will be conducted at Patiala and AIFF will stage the first Mother Teresa women’s tournament. Football festivals will also be organised in all states to attract Under-13 and Under-16 footballers.