Lack of trust, resources ailing Indian football: Roger Milla

Lack of trust, resources ailing Indian football: Roger Milla


Roger Milla

Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of the FIFA World Cup trophy tour jointly organised by Coca-Cola here, Milla said Indian clubs should recruit quality overseas footballers if they want to improve the standards of the game in the country.

“I think the Indian football problem is linked to a lack of faith and lack of resources. You are not putting may be as many resources in football as you are doing in cricket for example,” the legendary Cameroonian striker said in an interview.
Milla averred that India, a country of a billion plus people, should not have a problem in recruiting 20-25 good football players.
“It shouldn't be that hard. It's a lack of faith. You don't have that much faith in football. Or not as much as in cricket,” said Milla, the architect of Cameroon's quarterfinal finish in the 1990 World Cup.
“And I think you should start welcoming foreign players to boost football. Then you would have a good national team,” he suggested.

Now a FIFA-approved players' agent, Milla had sent the bio-data of two foreigners to I-League Club Chirag United in June.
On whether he was open to training Indian youngsters at the grassroots, Milla said he was unavailable due to his present commitments.

“But I could go as a consultant from time to time,” he added.
The 57-year-old also remembered his visit to Kolkata for an exhibition match after Cameroon's highly successful campaign in the 1990 World Cup.

“A Cameroonian club was invited to India. And they asked me to be part of the delegation. And I remember that I played a game there,” said Milla, who also scored in the match.
Milla, whose four-goal exploits in the 1990 World Cup as a 38-year-old has become a part of the soccer folklore, said class and physical fitness were the determining factors for a player to time his retirement.
“It's true that in football it is quite rare to play when you are 38. It is important to know when you should call it a day. But I think it has to do with class and physical fitness. As long as you are fit you can go on,” said the forward.

Milla went on to become the oldest player ever to have appeared in the World Cup four years later. The Cameroonian also occupies a place of pride as the World Cup's oldest goal scorer at 42 against Russia in the 1994 World Cup.
Milla gave credit to the people of Cameroon for his return to the national side in 1990 from retirement.
The railwayman's son was persuaded by then Cameroonian president Paul Biya to come back from retirement after the people wanted him on the team.
“My performance in 1990 and 1994, well I think, I owe it to the people of Cameroon. Because it was the people who had asked for a striker to be integrated into the national team. And the head of state asked me to do it against the advice of the minister of sport,” he said.
However, Milla categorically said he had nothing to prove in the two World Cups.
“Because I had proved as striker what I had to prove in football since I was 16-17. I think I was a good centre forward, and I don't think I had anything to prove in particular.”
Asked to spell out the qualities needed to become a good striker, Milla said: “Work is one of them. You have to work during your training sessions. But if you apply all the drills, if you have attended all the clinics and if you have cold blood in front of the goal mouth and know when and how to score and to control the ball, that's part of the exercise.
“And then discipline. Discipline during the game and outside the game as well.”

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