Home Sports ISL Has Elevated Level of Professionalism in Indian Football: Shaji Prabhakaran

ISL Has Elevated Level of Professionalism in Indian Football: Shaji Prabhakaran

ISL Has Elevated Level of Professionalism in Indian Football: Shaji Prabhakaran


The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has determined to take some substantial steps to take the game in the ahead path in the nation. Indian soccer was in a limbo final yr when FIFA determined to ban AIFF “as a consequence of undue affect from third events, which constitutes a critical violation of” its statutes.

However, things got better after 10 days when FIFA revoked the suspension after receiving confirmation that the mandate of Committee of Administrators (CoA) that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated and that the board administration had regained full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.

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The election took place soon after and Kalyan Chaubey beat Bhaichung Bhutia to become the new AIFF President. The first decision he made after taking over the charge was the appointment of Shaji Prabhakaran as the new secretary-general.

Football is arguably the most followed sport in the world and even in a cricket-crazy country like India it has a sizeable reach, but the fan following during the Qatar World Cup last year was huge. The mega tournament witnessed African and Asian teams like Morocco and Japan producing some memorable performances which must’ve left Indian fans eager to see their country qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

However, it’s not an easy road for the Blue Tigers as there are several things that need to get into place in the AIFF to make things better at the grassroots level.

In an exclusive conversation with News18 Sports, Prabhakaran talked about how ISL has helped in the advancement of professionalism in Indian football but at the same time, he asserted that the competition level in club football is quite weak.

“We need a competitive structure, which is vibrant. ISL has elevated that level of professionalism in Indian football. Today Every player, if you speak, even Sunil Chhetri will say that he’s played here he’s experiencing something which he has not experienced previously,” Prabhakaran informed News18 Sport.

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“So due to this fact we have now explicitly said our competitors is our weakest from high to backside. We need to collectively work to carry a couple of vibrant, aggressive stage, and that can attain by 2047 and 2026 to a stage 2047 to a stage 2037 to a stage. And we’re working collectively on this,” he added.

When asked about why India have not yet found a backup option for their legendary forward Sunil Chhetri, Prabhakaran admitted that there was no talent development strategy in AIFF when they took over the charge but now they have set a roadmap to provide a stage to the upcoming players to showcase their skills.

“So, therefore, see, it is a system. See, we are very explicitly stated. We don’t have a number seven. When we say number seven for us, is there no talent development strategy, there’s no Elite development plan. We need many Sunil Chhetri no doubt but then for that, we need to have a robust plan and that is where we are identified it as one of our weaknesses,” he added.

Prabhakaran said that he didn’t consider that any shortcut will assist Indian soccer to develop new expertise and stated that the board will work with the highest golf equipment to nourish promising people.

“We don’t have a expertise identification and improvement plan which is basically persistently producing gamers of that stage. And that’s the place we shall be working with our golf equipment that strengthen this half and that’s how we are going to see extra elite gamers into our system and we can compete. See, at this time, sadly possibly these challenges don’t enable that stage of matches we have now to beat, there isn’t any shortcut there, and there are not any different selections. Definitely, we have now to offer that stage to them to play and play, that’s how they may develop and we are going to discover undoubtedly,” he said.

The AIFF has emphasised extensively on the scouting programme to find new talents from even the smallest of cities. The 50-year-old said that the European clubs are looking for talents and it’s now AIFF’s job to find and groom them to make them visible at the global level.

“See today across the globe being in a digital world everybody knows that where is the talent, where to go, everybody’s looking for talent, every club is looking for talent. They want the cheapest talent and first to catch and therefore we cannot hide talent. But that is our weakness, we are not exposing, not finding talent and giving them the platform. And once we do it, we don’t have to do people will do it. So that is enabling mechanism we have to do, because we as a federation, we cannot contact clubs and ask them to come and take talent. They will surely take the talent if they find but for that, we have to develop a structure to find the talent first,” he concluded.

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