March 28, 2009 2:48:35 am
BSF coach cites Punjab teams inability to sign overseas players as one of the reasons for sagging fortunes
After his team bowed out of the fifth Lieutenant Governors Cup following an abject surrender to Jammu and Kashmir Bank,BSF coach Avtar Singh was in flashback mode,rekindling the memories of his playing days. Those include a Federation Cup final (1987),a Durand Cup title (1988) and a chance to fight it out with the best in business in the National Football League a decade back.
That was the last time Singh had played for the BSF,ending an 18-year-long career and the slip,since,has been abysmal. Ironically,the BSF were riding on their second consecutive All India Police Games title,a tournament highly-rated by the management,coming into this years Lieutenant Governors Cup.
We missed our main strikers Gurjeet Atwal and Harpreet Singh due to injuries sustained during the All India Police Games. But thats not the only reason. I think the turning point was the 2-1 loss to Air Force. Were leading till the 90th minute and we got complacent. Those two goals (by Air Force) in the 91st and 93rd minutes were too demoralising, said Singh.
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The 1-1,0-0 and 0-1 verdicts against Simla Youngs,Bhawanipore Club and J&K Bank,respectively,follow a pattern of deterioration,but the coach feels therere too many limitations that they have to deal with. Over the years the pattern of the game in the country has changed,but the Punjab team still seem to be doing the catching up job.
We dont have a large pool of players to choose from. We dont have quality players. A reason can be the limited pay structure of ours while a private club offers a player much more. When I was playing there werent so many restrictions as there are now, said Singh.
As Nigerian Badru Keke Ibrahim scored the winning goal for J&K Bank on Friday,Singh lamented missing the services of a foreigner. Most Indian clubs rely heavily on foreigners. Even for todays goal,I dont think an Indian couldve found the angle to net in the ball. But we cant sign foreigners, said Singh.
A few sand-running and weight-training sessions are what figure in his scheme of things for the next season as he expects the same core unit to take field. Weve some plans. Monitombi (Singh) has been called back and were looking to focus on some endurance skills.
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