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Follow Spain, France’s football model: Marcel Desailly tells India

According to World Cup winning French defender Marcel Desailly, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) must replicate the player development models adapted by France and Spain

football Updated: Sep 06, 2017 22:44 IST
Sarthak Bal
Marcel Desailly said following Spain and France’s models will help India in establishing itself as a global footballing force in the long run.
Marcel Desailly said following Spain and France’s models will help India in establishing itself as a global footballing force in the long run.(AFP/Getty Images)

Indian football may have improved with the national team leapfrogging to 97 in the Fifa rankings, but the question of developing and grooming world-class talent still remains unanswered.

According to World Cup winning French defender Marcel Desailly, who took part in an exhibition game at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai alongside Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amunike on Wednesday, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) must replicate the player development models adapted by France and Spain to fulfill their long-harboured ambition of competing with the powerhouses of world football.

“To compete with Spain and France you have to copy the model that we have established in the clubs. You have to start from the beginning, by creating the infrastructure. You have to have good coaches who enable youth players to understand and read the game,” said Desailly after the match.

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“Luckily, they have access to the competition (U-17 WC) and the opportunity to play at the very highest level and understand the distance between them and other federations,” said Desailly highlighting the importance of India’s participation in Fifa U-17 World Cup that kicks off on October 6.

This is the first time India will compete in a Fifa tournament, securing qualification as the host nation.

Former Spain international Morientes who scored four times in the exhibition game against the Indian contingent supported Desailly’s stance, reasserting the importance of coach development.

“The most important thing is the education of coaches. Infrastructure is also very important because you create an environment conducive to the transition between the youth level and the senior level. Infrastructure must be set up starting from school level. And that’s what Spain and France have been demonstrating so far,” added Morientes who spent eight years with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

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Desailly, who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with France, went on to cite Spain’s example of player retention as a pivotal facet of developing football in one’s country.

“Spain, with their player development model, has been able to sustain a league that keeps all their players in the system and thus the national team is benefiting. In France, we lose all our players to other leagues and our own league cannot benefit from the talent we produce.

Former Nigeria international and winner of the Fifa U-17 World Cup with Nigeria as coach, Emmanuel Amunike gave his opinion on what a coach catering to a youth team must bring to the table.

“When you are dealing with U-17 players, I think the most important thing is to try to act as a father to them. You try to make sure they see you as somebody to help them not as their coach. You try as much as you can to guide them and we cannot forget that there are a lot of distractions going on in their mind at this time. The most important thing is to see how you can bring them to the level to compete with the rest of the teams participating in the World Cup,” said Amunike.