| Rob Bann |
New Delhi: The performance of the national team came under attack from its own people, on Friday, when two senior officials of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said the squad lacked technique and fitness.
While the Dutch technical director of the AIFF, Rob Bann said India should be ashamed of their 168th place in the Fifa rankings, the I-League chief executive officer Sunando Dhar felt Indian footballers were not fit in the recent friendly tie against Singapore.
The comments of the officials came during a panel discussion on Indian football, organised by the Ficci.
Bann was particularly harsh: “We should be ashamed of the low rankings. A country like Iceland, which has a population of around 60,000, are ranked around 60 in Fifa charts and India is now at 168th! We have just 114 points and it is so less.”
Coached by Wim Kovermans, who was picked up for the job by Bann himself, India recently won the Nehru Cup defeating a strong Cameroon side in the final. Though the triumph did not bring any Fifa ranking point, the performance of the team earned all-round praise.
Bann, however, remains unconvinced. “We should not find excuses,” he said. “We lost to Singapore 0-2 in an international friendly and it means we were not good enough. We have a lot of work to do and there are so many gaping holes,” he said.
Baan also said that Indian players lack technique and they will have to be made used to a style they will find easier to adapt to. Asked about the Indian team’s new style of play — possessional football with short passing — advocated by him and Koevermans, Bann said:
“We saw too many long balls with short strikers upfront. We have to play possession football.
“You can’t play tactical football without having technique. We lack in technique because you don’t give kids the freedom to play in organised football,” the 68-year-old Dutchman said.
Dhar, on his part said the players found it difficult to play the international tie during the I-League season.
“The players were lacking in fitness. The travelling during the I-League matches had affected them,” Dhar said.