Baichung stresses on importance of national tournaments

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New Delhi, Nov 11 (UNI) Asserting the importance of national tournaments for the footballers in the country, Indian captain Baichung Bhutia today said the players should enhance their skills through the opportunities that they get while playing in the domestic tournaments.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of Nike annoncing the start of the fourth Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) 2009, the ace striker said, ''Tournaments like MUPC are giving a big break to Indian kids. Even I got the break into the National team after the Subroto Cup 16 years back.'' ''If local clubs become academies, definitely they can come and spot the talents directly which emerge specially from the U-15 teams, and train them in their own way,'' he added.

On government's contribution towards the game, Baichung said, ''The State and Central government should come forward to provide a better infrastructure to the players.

''Forget about good grounds, there is no space to play which is even lacking in big number,'' he added.

On their position in the I League, a relaxed Baichung who lead Mohan Bagan told UNI, ''Earlier in the league, we were not a strong side but now we are trying to hold our position.'' Further speaking on the prospect of football in India, he said, ''It's getting better day by day. But still there's lot of serious work to be done for taking the sport to top.'' On Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona's coming to Kolkata to lay the foundation stone of the Indian Football School (IFS), the 32-year-old striker said, ''It's good for football awareness. People will come t know about the sport more by his name, and projects will be taken seriously with right time and energy.'' He concluded that he is focussed on the upcoming tournaments like National League, and the ongoing I League.

UNI PY RAR NS1832

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