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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Indian football 50-100 years behind, they should start somewhere: Sol Campbell

Indian football need to take their FIFA U-17 World Cup experience seriously and plan for future, according to former England defender

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Oct 28, 2017 23:21 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
India went out of the group stage at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
India went out of the group stage at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.(PTI)

Sol Campbell says India are possibly 50 to 100 years behind the football elite but it needs to make a start somewhere. And that it was important not to move too far away from the country’s intrinsic way of playing football.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup final, Kolkata, England vs Spain: ENG thrash ESP 5-2, clinch maiden title

“There could be countries 50 to 100 years ahead of India but you need to make a start somewhere. And ask what we need to do to catch up. The under-17 World Cup would have been a good exposure to that end. It will take time and more conversations with FIFA,” said the former England defender who is also part of the FIFA Technical Study Group.

Asked whether India need a DNA programme like England started in 2014, Campbell said: “India shouldn’t go too far from their own DNA. But at the same time, you need exposure to how the game is played, you need to know how to qualify for tournaments and win games. For that you may need some foreign help. You need to learn when to allow opponents space and when to close them down and for that you need to be coached by the experts. You need to learn from good and bad results and you need to play more.”

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil score ugly 2-0 win over Mali in third-place playoff

When the conversation shifted to England players, Campbell said while this has been a great run and coming on the back of them being the world under-20 champions means the young ones are indeed doing well and the national centre at St George’s Park has indeed helped. But the biggest test lies in how all this is transferred to the senior team. “They need to play Champions League and first-rung football regularly. It is happening but not happening enough. Now, they either need a sympathetic manager or be outstanding,” said Campbell.

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 22:04 IST

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