I am not messiah, can’t change Indian football overnight: Constantine

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Kolkata, May 22 (IANS) Amid hopes of the country’s football standards reaching new heights with the advent of the Indian Super League, national team head coach Stephen Constantine on Friday expressed his conviction that things could change soon, but said he was not a messiah to bring about a new era overnight.

“I am not a messiah to change the country’s football infrastructure overnight. We have been below average a long time. But I believe it is going to change soon. We have done some very wrong things but some little right things too. Personally, I would want to break into the top 100 soon,” Constantine told reporters at a media conference here.

The Anglo-Cypriot Constantine, who is currently enjoying his second stint as the national coach after serving during 2002-05, said there has not been much of youth development over the last ten years.

“There has been no youth development, the clubs more than the national side should play more under 14s, under 15s, but not with 21-year-old players playing in the under 15 leagues.”

“Coaches found doing that will be severely punished. You see even a top premier league club like Manchester United spend so much on youth, so why are we lagging behind?” he queried.

Constantine rued that even the top flight football clubs in the country have very poor infrastructure that lacks the basic training facilities.

“We do not have suitable training facilities, neither infrastructure needed for football. We have had to shift our training camp to Guwahati because the hotel and the training facilities were close to the ground. In some Indian cities it takes one hour to reach the ground from the hotel. The two biggest clubs here (Kolkata) have no basic facilities. It is a bit of a joke,” he rebuked.

When asked about to spell out one positive difference over the last decade, he said: “Players are more comfortable with the ball now, but if you ask me to compare between the teams of 2005 and now it will be difficult.”

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