‘PIO players can improve Indian football’

Mumbai, July 3 (IANS) India football team coach Stephen Constantine said incorporating Persons of Indian origin (PIO) footballers in the national side might yield positive results for the country, adding that the Indian government should look into it for the betterment of the game.

The Englishman said even before him joining the squad, he drew up a list of 30 players who have an Indian tie-up and said if two to three of those boys with major league experience would join, it would dramatically improve the standard of the Indian national team.

“It’s not all of a sudden that I have come up with such an idea. It’s been in my mind since day one since I joined. In fact, I remember speaking about it at length during my first media interaction in the capital but maybe, all overlooked it,” Constantine told IANS in an interview on Wednesday.

“Before I came I drew up a list of 30 players who have an Indian tie up. If you can get two-three of these boys who have major league experience it will improve the Indian national team overnight. But whether we are allowed to use them or not is a different story,” he said.

The coach stressed on the point that the Indian government should analyse the PIO concept for the betterment of the game.

“Football is the biggest game in the world. It’s the most watched, most talked about, most televised, most advertised and the most followed sport in the world. And if Indians abroad can help improve our standings in world football, I think, there’s every reason we should look at it,” Constantine said.

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