"Bayern Munich could sign an Indian in future," says former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu
“Who knows in ten or twenty years some Indian player might sign a professional contract with Bayern Munich,” these were the words of former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu, who was in Delhi to promote the FC Bayern Youth Cup.
However, he was quick to point out that the Indian kids first need to get themselves to the level of the Bayern Munich academy footballers to help their cause. “At this moment the European youngsters are ahead of the Indians because they are getting better training and grooming facilities but there’s no reason why Indians can’t reach that level. Proper planning needs to be in place,” the former France footballer said.
“I feel 16-year-old players should be made to focus on technique. Tactic and physical preparation come afterwards. You should know how to control the ball and not let the ball control you,” the former Bayern left-back had a piece of advice for the coaches looking after the Indian youngsters.
Lizarazu, who was part of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad, reminded that the qualification for the marquee tournament isn’t an overnight process and for that, the youngsters should be made to love the game.
“It’s not that Indians don’t have the mentality to succeed on the international stage but a football culture needs to be built in the country. Kids should be restless to play the game as soon as their classes get over. Then only we can hope to see these youngsters choose this sport as a profession and help the national team,” he said.
He credited Bayern Munich and Adidas for providing the Indian kids with an opportunity to get the feel of world-class facilities and train under experienced coaches but felt that this programme needs to be backed up properly.
“Bayern are doing their bit but the process doesn’t end there as it is very important to see how the game is being organised in India with the help of the different leagues so that young footballers get enough grooming opportunities,” Lizarazu said.
It must be noted that the Indian U17 football team forward Aniket Jadhav, who now plays for Indian Arrows in the I-League, had a memorable stint in the 2014 edition of the Bayern Youth Cup.
The kids of Army Public School, Bangalore must be dreaming of a similar experience as they beat Campeon School, Mumbai in the National Finals to qualify for the FC Bayern World Finals 2018, which will be held at the iconic Allianz Arena in Munich later in May this year.
Bayern will always be on the lookout for talented players and track these tournaments to scout footballers for their youth teams. Now it's up to the youngsters to get themselves noticed.