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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Blame it on foreign hand,or the lack of it

After his team bowed out of the fifth Lieutenant Governor’s 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.

Written by Saikat Sarkar | New Delhi | Published: March 28, 2009 2:48:35 am

BSF coach cites Punjab team’s inability to sign overseas players as one of the reasons for sagging fortunes

After his team bowed out of the fifth Lieutenant Governor’s 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 year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Cup.

“We missed our main strikers Gurjeet Atwal and Harpreet Singh due to injuries sustained during the All India Police Games. But that’s not the only reason. I think the turning point was the 2-1 loss to Air Force. We’re 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.

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 there’re 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 don’t have a large pool of players to choose from. We don’t 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 weren’t 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 today’s goal,I don’t think an Indian could’ve found the angle to net in the ball. But we can’t 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. “We’ve some plans. Monitombi (Singh) has been called back and we’re looking to focus on some endurance skills.”

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