AIFF wants foreign players to play for India

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:35 IST

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is looking for Indian players of foreign origin to play for the country.

Goa:

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is looking for Indian players of foreign origin to play for the country since they feel that the current crop of players do not possess the mental toughness that is required at the international level. The AIFF has just begun the process of importing players. The FIFA guidelines are that if a player has not played for any other country before turning 23 and if they have a parental or birthright connection, which can give them citizenship, they can play for another country. So far the AIFF has short-listed at least 14 players from countries like Canada, South Africa and France. And they will be looking at some of these players during the Whitecaps Nations Cup in Vancouver later this month. "We have to have a look at the players and see if they are interested. And then the Federation is looking for the certification for them to be eligible to play so there' s a little way to go but we are going down that road to see if that's possible," said Bob Houghton, Indian football team coach. "There are a lot of factors there. But for sure it is a real possibility, there are players in Holland and England who I have no doubt would strengthen us greatly," Houghton added. Besides importing the players, the federation should also focus on the real issues such as consistency in coaching and policies, providing better facilities and truly developing the game at the grassroots level. The lack of professional league and the FIFA regulation could also be a major hurdle in implementation of this plan.

Topics : Football
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