India "just cannot afford to lose any more time"

The Asian Football Confederation secretary Peter Velappan has declared that India cannot afford to lose any more time in terms of developing its football team. "India just cannot lose any more time. It is time for a professional set up and we at the AFC are in constant discussion with the All India Football Federation . It calls for a change in mindset," Velappan told The Hindu during the course of the AFC Youth Championship football tournament.

"We will start the Vision India project in Manipur next month, that will be followed by Delhi and later by two other states that will be specified by the AIFF. We at the AFC are looking at developing players from the under-12 level all the way to the under-22 level so that the player keeps larning and improving. We want to enhance our talent base so that all Asian teams become stronger. Having Australia in the AFC also helps as it exposes our Asian players to Australia's European style of robust and aggressive play," Velappan said.

Velappan revealed that the AFC has sent some guidelines for the restructuring of the Indian football league. "We have asked the AIFF to restructure its monetary allocation which is not satisfactory for the professional clubs. Right now the AIFF bears the cost of travelling and hotel accommodation but instead we have asked the association to give an x-amount to the clubs so that the clubs themselves bear the expenses, plus they also have a right to the gate money, in-stadia advertisment and so forth," Velappan said.