Soccer suffering, blame bickering - Govt doesn?t promote football: Expert

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By TUHIN DUTTA in Ranchi
  • Published 15.11.05

Ranchi, Nov. 15: If one goes by the version of national football coach and in-charge of the Sport Training Centre Burdwan, Ananta Kumar Ghosh, it is the lack of coordination between the government, sports bodies and the football federation that is hampering the development of soccer in India.

Ghosh, who is currently in the city, maintains that a lack of rapport among the bodies is the reason behind India?s 130th position in the world ranking.

Ghosh, who has also been appointed as the observer of the ongoing East Zone Sports Authority of India (SAI) Inter-Hostel Football tournament, told The Telegraph: ?Teams from more than six states are participating in the tournament and many coaches have come from various parts of the country.

?The tournament will help churn out a new breed of footballers but there are no officials from the government?s side or the football federation. This was unfortunate. There is absolutely no coordination among these bodies and this is hampering the game,? said Ghosh.

Ghosh said the proper coordination of these bodies would, in turn, help in establishing a proper dialogue between them and discussions can be made for the upliftment and development of the game.

He also blamed the popularity of the game of cricket and lack of proper promotion of football, for the poor ranking of the latter.

?Cricket has reached the grassroots level and has become extremely popular. But in comparison to that, the various sports bodies and the government have not been able to promote football. This, too, is very unfortunate,? said Ghosh.

?Neither the concerned officials are organising football tournaments on a regular basis nor there is any infrastructural development in the country. The participation of boys have also registered an all-time low not only in Jharkhand where the game is not that popular but elsewhere in the country as well.

?Earlier, hundreds of players took part in any selection camp that was organised. But now the number has diminished rapidly,? said Ghosh.

Speaking about the remedies, which can be brought forward to improve the condition of the game, Ghosh said development should be undertaken through a long-term project.

?One can take up a 10-year project in which a batch of around 400 players in the age group of 14 to 16 years can be properly trained, so that by the time they reach the senior level they can be developed into good players who can represent the country. But if the basics such as framing the sports policy have not been framed till now, how can one expect to promote the game properly?? asked Ghosh.

Talking about the game in Jharkhand, Ghosh said there was a time when the state had good teams from Mecon, SAIL and HEC.

?But all these teams are not playing at par now. Hockey is more popular in a state like Jharkhand but at the same time, football is also a sought after game here.

?I was watching the Jharkhand boys play in the tournament and they are quite good in the game. Soccer has to be promoted at the grassroots level, like the schools. Inter-class, Inter-school and inter-district football tournaments should be organised at regular intervals to promote the game properly here,? said Ghosh.