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Roping in mediocre foreign teams is causing misery to IFA Shield

710   //    07 Mar 2013, 10:01 IST

Costa Rica’s Fifa ranking is 53. And Saprissa is a first division club of the country’s highest football league. Following information provided by the team’s coach Fausto Gonsalvez, Saprissa has finished third in their premier league last season.

The club is in Kolkata to participate in the ongoing IFA Shield football tournament with under-23 squad in spite of the club’s promise to send a squad comprising three senior World cuppers in the side for the Shield as claimed IFA secretary. And following IFA’s repeated persuasion with Saprissa officials, forcing them to keep their promise, Saprissa is likely to have one senior senior World Cupper, Wlter Centhon in the IFA Shield.

Though there is a little bit of uncertainty over Walter’s arrival in the city as his visa has not yet been cleared. Saprissa’s team management revealed that Walter who already said goodbye to football last year, has agreed to play one match in the IFA Shield on 10th March against Mohun Bagan at Kalyani. Walter is likely to arrive in the city on 9th March.

In recent years, foreign teams in the IFA Shield have been virtually a disaster. As an aftermath the the tournament, reaching its 117th year, is gradually losing its glory. Last year, IFA roped in a Chinese team, Shundong FC. The state association as usual publicized the Chinese team, campaigning that it was a premier Chinese team.

But the fact was that Shundong FC failed to earn a single victory in the Shield. In the year before last, IFA did the same, roping in Botafago FC from Brazil. Simultaneously, a lot of promises were made by the IFA regarding the quality of the players coming with Brazilian side.

But finally it was evident that none of the quality footballers who have been donning Botafago senior team shirts that time, had come to play in the Shield. It was a reserve squad that was sent by the club for the tournament.

It is learnt that before the commencement of the ongoing Shield the sponsor of the IFA shield as well as Kolkata Premier league, Sahara group had initiated talks with an English Premier club, Reading FC. But the state association top brass igored the sponsor’s initiative.

Sources close to the IFA top brass disclosed that the Prayag United FC top bosses, being in close relationship with the IFA secetary Mr Utpal Ganguly, took the initiative for Saprissa through their Costa Rica World Cupper Carlos hernandez. But how long IFA would continue with roping in mediocre foreign teams for such a glorious tournament?

Now the IFA secretary, being frustrated with Saprissa for breaking the promise of bringing quality players, is claiming that the club will pay half of their appearance money back to the IFA if it finally fails to keep its promise of bringing quality players. But at the same time, Saprissa is ready to accept the IFA secretary’s demand.

The club management has said it had earlier informed the IFA that along with one senior World Cupper Walter Centhon, there would be two junior world Cuppers in the squad for the Shield. And there are two junior World Cuppers already in the squad, Phillipo Tevez and Luna.

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