'Indians have amazing skills'

'Indians have amazing skills'

Football

'Indians have amazing skills'

Making a point: Germany’s Horst Wein feels football in India needs better administration . DH photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

The Indian team is ranked 144 in the world! That’s pretty much the start and end to any conversation as far as Indian football is concerned, but seldom do people take notice of ‘pockets of talent’ that is in abundance.

In this cricket-mad country, football cartainly takes the backstage. But blaming other sport for its current state of affairs can hardly be justified. Grappling with multitude of issues, Indian football can do with some of the interesting tips from German Horst Wein.

Wein comes with numerous suffixes: a professor of physical education at Technical University of Munich and the National Institute of Physical Education in Barcelona, the author of 34 sport-related books, the man behind FC Barcelona’s success in the youth academy, so on and so forth.

Well over 60, the German has great passion and matches the curiosity of a ten-year-old. But there is more to the man than what just meets the eye. With him comes a plethora of possibilities. His plans are captivating, they appear honest and believable. But more importantly they are simple and can be implemented.

“I have seen the Indian football team play on a couple of occasions, and it’s a sorry sight,” noted Wein, who is on brief visit to the country. “They always run in one straight line, facing the goalkeepers. They never make moves on the wing. That’s one of their biggest drawbacks. However, there is incredible talent in India. I have seen that the good players are often left out of the squad. There seems to be a lot of politics going around and it’s not good for the sport,” he observed.

“Indians are blessed with amazing skills in terms of optical conception, mobility and speed. I’ve nearly spent a month in India and I have not seen an accident yet. It’s amazing how Indians can drive like that. They snake through anything in their path without an ounce of concern or worry. They are just so tuned to what they do. These are aspects that Europeans rarely possess.

“Children in Europe are very sedantary. They go to school by car, sit in the class without any real movement, get home by car, take an elevator when there is one, sit on a couch, eat fattening food and then go to sleep. This routine is followed very religiously by most Europeans. There is no self-constraint, but in India they follow the go-get-it-yourself method. Walking or cycling or something. They always are on their feet and it makes them more agile, especially kids. That’s a great trait to have to excel in football,” he explained.

Problems on the field of play are one thing, but the way the sport is run in the country is another. “I don’t understand how the federation in India (All India Football Federation) works,” wondered Wein. “They get around 250 thousand US dollars for the development of the sport and nothing really seems to be happening. Idon’t know why they can’t use that (money) to improve the quality of the sport in the country. No one knows where the money goes,” Wein remarked.

Wein raises a fundamental inadequacy in Indian football. “Football should begin in the head, descend via the heart and then, finally, finish at the feet! But in India, football begins and ends with feet. There are three phases in football: perception, decision making and execution.

“In Indian football it’s all about execution. The processes that precede it are very important but they are just not put into use. The future of Indian football depends on the quality of coaches. A lot of restructuring is required to help Indian football, and my book is the beginning of that. It targets the grass root level and it works,” said Wein.

Wein’s ideas may sound familiar but with a success story behind him, the 61-year-old doesn’t appear off the mark.

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