Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 29: India football team's assistant coach and sports scientist Danny Deigan believes the gap between domestic and international level is huge and it needs to be bridged from the club level itself.
"The gap between football at the domestic level and the international level is huge and for us the biggest challenge is to bridge the gap. It can never be bridged within a span of ten days. For that, it needs to begin at the clubs," Deigan said on Tuesday.
"It's up to us to guide the players to understand, gauge and do that extra part to keep themselves going at the level if we are to attain world standards. Otherwise..." he said.
Deigan put forward some figures from GPS used by the national team and the comparison to world standards.
"I have a data of over 200 lines on the team and each individual and how it relates to everything -- right from the risks of injury which they can suffer to their performances, the improvements and even the downward curve which is never encouraging," he stated.
"A wing-back as per world standards cover 10,400 metres in a match; a central defender 9,650 metres; a midfielder 11,200 metres and a forward 10,400 metres," Deigan said, seeking more development of Indian players.
India take on the Maldives in the first semi-final of the SAFF Championship on Thursday, following their thumping win over Sri Lanka (2-0) and Nepal (4-1).
"In the match against Iran in Bengaluru, where we used the GPS for the first time, our wing-backs covered a distance of 9507 metres; central defenders 9,100 metres; midfielders 10,872 metres and the forwards 10,137 metres," he said.
"In our last match against Nepal in the SAFF Cup, the wing backs covered 10,476 metres, central defenders 9,435 metres; midfielders 11,298 meters while the forwards 10,600 metres," Deigan pointed out.
When asked if the Indian players are already close to world standards, the sports scientist said, "You understand it's improving. But in some matches, you also need to understand it is strongly influenced by team tactics and the opposition, and can even be influenced by poor positioning of the player and the distance he needs to cover as a result of that."
"You need to take into consideration the distances covered by a player at a high speed, over 14 km per hour. That's a big part of where we need to improve if we are to go forward," he concluded.