All India Football Federation (AIFF) will prefer stronger and taller footballers to make the world feel its presence at international level.
Talking to newsmen in Jamshedpur at J R D Tata Sports complex on Tuesday evening,Colin Joseph Toal,the technical director of AIFF,said India has good potential in football and performance of the players was satisfactory as far as skill was concened but they lacked the physique.
“India has quality players and are technically good enough but lacked physique including the height as compared to their counterparts outside the country”,said Toal,who was here to take part in the 3rd AIFF under-13 football festival commencing from Thursday.
Appreciating the performance of the Indian team,Toal said though Indian team comprised of good quality players but they were severely crippled by size including height and build as compared to football playing nations,a disadvantage for the team despite it comprising of quality footballers.
“Hence,we are focussing on talented footballers with good height and strong physique,” the UK-based Toal said adding that Indian football team required about 30 to 40 per cent such players for certain positions like in the defence line-up and in the upfront.
“Positive”,pat came the reply when asked about his experience about Indian football during his over two-year tenure.
However,Toal was strongly against comparing India with other football playing nations.
“Competition is great in football compared to cricket really as football is being played in over 180 countries whereas cricket is popular among eight/nine nations”,Toal observed expressing satisfaction that India has made good progress improving its postion from 180 to 140 in the world during the last few years.
Stating that securing position in top ten in Asia would be a positive sign,Toal claimed that India lost only one match abroad during the last 15 months.
“We have won Nehru cup and AFC cup but lost in the SAF championship in the final during this period,we are certainly making progress,” he said.
Toal,however,refused to set any timeframe as to when India would be able to qualify for the world cup.
Referring the under-16 and 19 years team,he said 72 boys in both the age would be selected based on their performance in national tournaments and championships.
Among them,30 best players in each age group would be shortlisted,who will undergo three-week training in the coaching camp to be held at Goa from February one (under-19 yrs) and April one (under-16 yrs) for the preparation of Asian championship later this year.
Emphasising the need for mor exposure abroad,he said the team will be going abroad including Hongkong to play friendly match before the Asian championship.
Toal,who has 32-years coaching experience in 13 countries including India,hailed the AIFF for organizing under-13 year football festival as it was the right age to identify and nurture the football talent.
Toal lauded the contribution of Tata Football Academy (TFA) and the facilities created by Tata Steel for football in Jamshedpur.
The stadium and the facilities were really maginificent for promoting national tournaments,he said adding that TFA have been producing quality footballers for the country.
Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran,director vision India and also in-charge of grass roots and youth development programme of AIFF,said the basic purpose of under-13 football festival was to promote and encourage talented youngsters.
He said around 24 states will be taking part in the festival but the winner will be judged not on the number of goals the team scored but on the basis of the onfield conduct.