New Delhi, Feb 3: It was a rare day in the history of Indian football as fans witnessed an exceptional scenario at the All India Football federation’s (AIFF) Football House on Thursday (Feb 2).
Indian football’s three icons Bhaichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan and Jo Paul Anchery attended a conference after being invited for a discussion about the development of Indian football at grass root level.
The meeting was summoned by AIFF’s youth development committee’s chairman, Richard Hood, who initiated the grass-root development programme in Bengaluru FC three years ago.
Bhaichung, commenting on the meeting on Thursday (Feb 2), said, “It was a wonderful discussion. All of us had a suggestion that the scouting of the footballers in the grass-roots level would be the most important job in terms of development of Indian football.
All top countries in the world football are ahead of us in this very department as they pick up talented kids in their perfect age and groom them accordingly at an early age, say 15.”
IM Vijayan also had the same notion.
Speaking over phone from New Delhi Vijayan remarked, “We must make the scouting programme in perfect manner. I do not believe that there is dearth of talented footballers in India.”
In a bid to make the scouting programme more scientific and perfect, the AIFF youth development programme chairman, as well as the higher officials present in the meeting, had a common advice that one baby I-league should be introduced in the near future.
Jo Paul Anchery informed, “Plans have been made to introduce a baby I-league where under-14 teams will be participating. Age verification test is going to be made mandatory. Even if any club or academy manipulates over aged player (above 14 years old) we have decided to suspend the institution as well as impose huge financial penalty on the institution.”
"More importantly, the teams from remote places all over the country will be invited to participate so that the talented footballers could be seen together," added Anchery.