Luis: I’m proud of these boys

New Delhi: Luis Norton de Matos, on Thursday night, said India have a long way to go if they wanted to do something significant at the world stage.

Saying there were too many reasons for the humiliating 0-4 defeat against Ghana, the Portuguese coach said football in India would never improve unless the boys were coached from the under-eight age group level.
“Football is a continuous process, it can’t be done overnight,” said the coach.  

De Matos even had a dig at the Indian Super League (ISL) pointing out ISL teams even lose to fourth division sides when they go to Europe for pre-season training.

The coach conceded Ghana were too hot to handle and said he never expected India to do much against the African side.
“I am proud of these boys… But it was a hard game. The game was too complicated and the gaps between the two teams were too huge,” said the coach.

Praising the speed of Ghana, De Matos said the Africans had players, who were capable of winning the match on their own.

“They had defenders and wingers, who were very speedy and played fine football. They were very good. We had to face the reality and the difference between the two teams.

“Our team were finished physically by the first 45 minutes. There was no energy left in them to match that pace in the second half. If they had to play one more match, they couldn’t have played as they didn’t have any energy left. But this Ghana team can play eight such games with same intensity,” the India coach said.

He was miffed when asked if nine goals in three games was a good result.

“Would love to see how senior India teams perform against senior teams of these countries! Had it been Nepal, Bhutan or Maldives, it could be different. But I am proud of this team and we need to invest in them,” he said.
Ghana coach Eric Fabino said: “We could have scored more but I am happy with it.”

About Indian team, the Ghanaian coach was frank in his assessment. “They didn’t pose any threat and didn’t come to the party like other matches. We played fast-paced football and India couldn’t cope with it. I was bit surprised to see India’s performance. They did better in the other two matches.

“India are far better placed than us in terms of infrastructure. But had we lost today, I would have had to take Indian citizenship,” the coach laughed.

Skipper Eric Aiyah, who scored goals, said: “I think the first two matches were tough and we couldn’t capitalise the chances. The coach taught how to maintain composure in the box.”


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