that as many as 200 applications have been received by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for the post of national coach shows growing interest in Indian football, not only within the country but also from European greats.
The top name to offer his services is the former French World Cup team coach of 2006 final, Raymond Domenech. Not only that some of the prominent former European players and coaches have evinced interest in the top Indian job. This augers well for the development of the game in the country. With such a rush for the top job, the AIFF has a rich choice to choose from. With present national coach Stephene Constantine’s three-year contract coming to an end in January, the AIFF would be looking to have a renowned name as a coach for building the national team to international standards. It is not surprising, therefore, that the AIFF has set a target for a future coach whose FIFA ranking is among top 75. And among the 200 aspirants for the job there are several in that league.
Besides, those former international players and coaches who are doing the job of coaches with some of the franchises in the Indian Super League (ISL) have also shown interest in the job. Thus the AIFF has a wide range of choice to choose from. There is no denying that, like the BCCI’s IPL 20Twenty league, the ISL has also attracted a lot of former and present foreign players to the country and are taking interest in the promotion and development of the game.
The ISL certainly is helping the cause of Indian football with domestic players rubbing shoulders with international players of repute and in having coaches as mentors. Though India has a long way to go in making international mark, this development will certainly have a positive impact on the development of the game in the country. In the last three years Stephene Constantine did his utmost to raise the standard of the national team. The hosting of the Under 17 World Cup in India earlier this year also generated much interest in the game.
This also helped in foreign soccer stars and coaches getting interested in the huge possibilities that India offers for the development of soccer. Unlike cricket, which has a countrywide following, interest in football still remains confined to a few states and a few areas. The Indian Football Federation has to do much leg work to bring about countrywide spread for the game. It would have to undertake promotional activities on a large scale. In this regard the network that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has raised is worth emulating, not only by the Football Federation but also by other sports bodies. There is lot of scope for football to grow for the AIFF to encash.