The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian soccer structure too disorganised: Velappan

Kuala Lumpur: India is a sleeping football giant that needs to change its mindset and restructure to succeed in international competition, as South Korea and Japan have done, Asian football supremo Peter Velappan said Sunday.

“India is now too disorganised in terms of football structure,” Velappan, general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), said here. “There is no sense of unity or focus among the various states and officials involved in developing football in the subcontinent. Indian football needs one goal, one vision, to make headway,” he said.

Velappan said the success of South Korea and Japan in the World Cup had inspired Asians. “India can follow their footsteps too,” he said.

Velappan said a recent tour by a three-man AFC team to India revealed many weaknesses at the club, state and national levels and pointed to a lack of infrastructure around the game there.

The team, headed by Fifa Goal Project director Paul Mony Samuel, toured India for eight days from August 29.

To address these shortcomings, the AFC will organise a seminar with key officials from all levels of Indian football, Velappan said.

“We hope it will serve as a blueprint and form the basis for restructuring Indian football back to its glory days,” Velappan said, adding that India could not be left to wallow in mediocrity.

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