Indian football is on the revival path and set to soar new heights drawing strength from a combination of factors including the increased presence of foreign players and coaches while Kerala has all the potential to emerge as a soccer powerhouse of the country, said Brazilian super trainer Luiz Greco.
Greco, who is considered an unrivalled technical mastermind in world soccer, said India scaling up from 173rd to the 97th slot in the FIFA ranking and steadily growing popularity of the game in the country showed that its football is on an upswing.
The brilliant schemer was speaking on the sidelines of the Coaches’ Training Programme, conducted here as part of the ‘Kickoff’ project of the Kerala government’s Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs. Greco was the Chief Instructor of the state-level camp, which concluded at Higher Secondary School, Farook, the other day.
The Coaches’ Training Programme was organised as a special initiative of Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Sports and Youth Affairs E P Jayarajan.
A total of 30 coaches, who attended the camp, will fan out to all districts across the state to spot and train budding talents. A grassroots football training programme, ‘Kickoff’ targets school children and imparts world class training to them. More camps for coaches have been planned in the coming days in different centres across the state.
The participation of foreign players and trainers in national tournaments like Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League has imparted a new vigour to the Indian football, said Greco, who has nearly four decades of international experience as coach and technical expert in soccer.
“I am sure that the future of Indian football is quite bright. By scientific and systematic training, Indian players can be moulded to match their peers from any part of the world,” noted Greco, who has trained top sides including the Brazilian Senior National Team.
He said Kerala has the potential to emerge as the soccer powerhouse of the country. “Kerala‘s approach to football is quite encouraging. It leads other states in identifying and training promising talents at a young age. It is also noteworthy that the state government has taken major initiatives to achieve the goals it has set out. Also, there are quite a few clubs and tournaments which have made Kerala a veritable football paradise,” he added.
Greco, however, pointed out that it is crucial to pay more attention to improve the physical fitness of the players. “There is a need to make their plates richer and more balanced by adding nutritious items on the menu like meat, fish, milk and fruits. It has been proved by players with less physical stature that they could improve their strength and stamina by switching to a more nutritious diet,” said the trainer-of -trainers.
The three-day camp was organised by the Sports Education Promotion Trust (SEPT) on behalf of the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs. Mr Sanjayan Kumar, Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, addressed the participants. Camp co-ordinator U V Baburaj, former FIFA referee C Sethumadhavan, SEPT CEO Arun Nanu and camp-in-charge M C Manoj Kumar led the programme.
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