India's underwhelming performance in the SAFF Championship means that a long overdue meeting is suddenly getting a lot of attention. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) hasn't yet put a date to when its new technical committee will meet but a post-mortem, among other things, will be on the
agenda when that happens.
Before listing his reasons, Bhaichung Bhutia, who heads the technical committee, accepted India have struggled so far adding that he continues to live in hope of a turnaround beginning Monday.
"We all know teams struggle during transition and this team is trying to adjust to a new style of playing under a new coach. Moreover, these players are not used to playing in front of a hostile crowd. A raft of players has retired and while I am sure about these boys' ability, they need time. Ditto the coach," Bhutia told HT over the phone from Gangtok.
"One of the things Wim (Koevermans) needs to do is ask for longer preparatory camps. He needs to spend more time with the players. It is pointless to cite examples of countries whose players meet two days before an international and play because, let's accept it, we are not at that level.
"Our players need more time to get ready for international games. One of the reasons why India got results under Bob Houghton (the coach whom Koevermans replaced) is because he sought and got longer camps. And here the clubs should help Wim," he said.
Bhutia also said skipper Sunil Chhetri should talk more to the players if he thinks it would benefit them. "He (Sunil) has been such a pro on the field. Even in my time, he was such a crucial player in the side.
This writer's trip has been sponsored by World Sport Group.