Mueller calls for more Indian youth development

German legend Gerd Mueller (the 'Aerial Bomber' pictured left) is impressed with Indian football. "I did not know what to expect before coming here. I am impressed with the fitness of players, but there is a need for more skillful individuals," he told media. Visiting Kolkata as the assistant coach of a Bayern Munich development squad to take part in the IFA Shield tournament, Mueller also recommended improving the standard of football grounds to enable players to display better football.

He emphasised youth development and graduating to a professional structure of the game to make India a power to reckon with. "The most important thing is youth development ... Indian football has to heavily invest on this. Once this is done, bring quality players from abroad to make a good mix for domestic tournaments," he said, adding that a professional structure cannot be done at one go. "You need to go step by step and systematically".

Mueller said he was particularly moved by the lively crowd and said "the supporters are noisy, always cheering for the home side, but not hostile to the guest teams. They are a very positive crowd".

Earlier he unveiled the German shirts for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, designed by Adidas, in the presence of Adidas India Marketing Pvt Ltd managing director Andreas Gellner. Mueller said he would look forward to visiting India with a first string side of Bayern Munich "in the future".

See also: Beckenbauer agrees: the 'future of football is Asia' (28 Nov) and Bayern Munich discovers India in "South East Asia" (9 Nov)