Sunday, January 6, 2008

Barriers break when money talks




The news of a corporate bigwig like Bharti getting involved with Indian football is pure music to the ears of people associated with the game. It’s a more than welcome initiative on the part of AIFF as well as the company. But the road ahead is a tricky one and needs to be treaded extremely carefully.



As an official of AIFF commented, “It sounds all good on paper but unless it yields something, it would just be another flash in the pan.”



Efforts to popularise football have moved from first to third gear, for quite some time now. Money is slowly and steadily pouring in and the results are showing. While Bharti is starting from the grassroots level, which is extremely essential, a lot of others have just tagged along and not given too much to the game. The academy being planned by Bharti is a step in the right direction but it will not work if other things required aren’t put in place. “What would the academy yield if there aren’t professional coaches?” questions a coach of a football club.



AIFF claims that it would bring in foreign coaches and train young kids the right way, or rather the European way, which would have facilities including multiple grounds, basic training, coaching and medical facilities.



Nirvan Shah, who runs his own football academy, PIFA, in Mumbai and has tie-up with European club academies feels that it is a great move but needs a lot of hard work other than “just giving the money”. “It requires a lot of effort and every minute detail has to be paid attention to.” Shah, though, feels that Indian football seems to be headed in the right direction.



AIFF president Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, at the press conference, said that the involvement of someone like Bharti would just be the kickstart for the development of the game. And he rightly said, “It is a small ray of light in our house.” Whether that ray lights up the house or not remains to be seen, for now, Indian football can look forward to a better and hopefully a brighter future.


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