Soon after joining Duncan Fletcher, Michael Nobbs and ex-NBA player Kenny Natt as a foreign technical person helping Indian sport, Dutch Robert Baan played down talk of abysmal infrastructure and said team effort is needed to develop Indian football.
Baan, appointed technical director by All India Football Federation (AIFF) for two-years, takes charge on November 1.
Asked by www.the-aiff.com, the AIFF's official website, on how confident he is of turning around Indian football, Baan, 68, said: "It's a team game and I'd need the help of all stakeholders to create the right structure. We need to chalk out and implement realistic plans."
That could be a thorny issue given that Indian clubs, the AIFF and the national team coach have rarely been on the same page. India's last foreign football coach, Bob Houghton, had his share of disagreements with state associations, clubs and even some AIFF officials.
But Baan said he has his reasons for taking up this assignment. "This is a new challenge for me - to assist and develop football in India."
His primary role, Baan said, is to draft a masterplan for Indian football and "assist in establishing the elite academy and the (four) regional academies". The academies are to come up by March 31, 2012.
Expectedly, Baan didn't want to make much of the lack of infrastructure. "It's useless thinking about it and sitting idle. The scenario just cannot be changed in a short term. As long as it is being addressed in the long run, it's OK," he said.
He also made light of the oft-repeated comment about the short stature of Indian footballers. "Ghana also have some players of short stature but they did make it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in South Africa."