Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017 | Last Update : 12:26 AM IST

‘Grooming players after Cup essential’

THE ASIAN AGE. | SOUMO GHOSH
Published : Sep 7, 2017, 1:09 am IST
Updated : Sep 7, 2017, 1:09 am IST

The Fifa Legends side consisted of Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly, Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amuneke.

Action from a friendly match between Fifa Legends and an Indian selection side to promote the Fifa Under-17 World Cup at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. The Legends won 5-4. (Photo: Rajesh Jadhav)
 Action from a friendly match between Fifa Legends and an Indian selection side to promote the Fifa Under-17 World Cup at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. The Legends won 5-4. (Photo: Rajesh Jadhav)

Mumbai: India needs to carry forward its programmes to aid the overall growth of budding footballers even after the Fifa U-17 World Cup is over, was the general consensus among the five legends of international football, who visited the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, to play a match against an Indian selection squad.

The Fifa Legends side consisted of Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly, Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amuneke.

The Indian side included former national team captain Renedy Singh, ex-footballers Steven Dias and Henry Menezes, women’s team players Bala Ngangom, Bembem Devi, singer and politician Babul Supriyo and film director Shoojit Sircar.

Fans were treated to some fast-paced five-a-side football as the legends rode a four-goal-haul by former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes to clinch the game 5-4.

Bala Ngangom was the standout player for the Indians, scoring a brace.

Amuneke, who won the U-17 World Cup as Nigeria coach, believes that Europe and South America have a greater advantage over the others as their players get to carry forward their development at the junior levels, as they are groomed by the clubs later on.

“In Europe or South America, when the players finish playing at the youth level, they continue their growth by enrolling with a club,” said Amuneke.

He added that African nations were are yet to realise that they could not thrive in international football on talent alone. 

“Unfortunately that has been missing in the African countries. We tend to dwell only on talent. We forgot that we have to continue to prepare the players, that we have to continue to make them grow, to become a much better player in the future.”

Desailly stressed on the importance of handling the pressure of playing at home. “I would say that for the Indian team playing at home is something very special, and they should prepare well because it is tough to handle pressure of playing on their own soil,” said Desailly.

Tags: fifa u-17 world cup, carlos valderrama
Location: India, Maharashtra, Mumbai (Bombay)