After taking over as the Technical Director of the Indian national team, Rob Baan raised his voice against Indian Football. In a panel discussion yesterday, this former director of the Netherlands national football team said that India should be ashamed of their 168th place in FIFA Ranking. He also made it clear that to improve this ranking, India would have to work hard to fill the gaps in every section of the game.
“We should be ashamed of the low rankings. A country like Iceland, which has around 60,000 population are ranked around 60 in FIFA charts and India is now at 168th. We have just 114 points and it is so much less in numbers.”
Yesterday at a discussion on “Mission Rank 100: Myth or Reality” organized by The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Bann said that Indian football had to walk a long path to improve their ranking in world football. For that, they have to focus on grassroots and especially infrastructure development.
A couple of days ago India’s Number One goalkeeper Subrata Paul revealed that by playing frequent international friendly matches, India can come to within 100 in the FIFA Rankings. Sunil Chhetri also echoed these sentiments. Baan added:
“FIFA rankings in general give picture of the standard of football in a country. Spain is number one in FIFA rankings and rightly so. The Netherlands were second some time back and they were now pushed down to sixth after losing a few games,”
“It is possible we can be in top 100 by 2018. To do that we have to start work from the grassroots level. We have to focus on the youth development and infrastructure, academies, education of coaches.”
After the Nehru Cup, India have played only one international match, against Singapore on October 16, which the Blue Tigers lost 2-0. India will play their second international friendly against Yemen on November 14. A question rose after India’s defeat against Singapore, over falling further down the ranks if they continued to lose games. Over choosing the correct opponents, the 69-year-old Dutchman said:
“You gain points by winning games. You cannot play Spain and lose 0-10. So you have to go step by step to rise in the rankings,”
Baan also mentioned the poor technique of the Indian players on the field. After Baan’s countryman Wim Koevermans took up the post of India’s coach, he implemented a new style of football, possession football with short passing. Of India’s technique, he said:
“We saw too many long balls with short strikers upfront. We have to play possession football.”