Indian football has talent – needs Intl exposure: Brahmanand

Jamshedpur: Former Indian football goalkeeper Brahmanand Shankhwalkar on Sunday said that the country has plenty of talents and could do well in international level if they players have more foreign exposure.

"It is not that we do not have talents. We have good players with technique, physique and speed but we lack style of play and international exposure at home," Brahmanand, an Arujuna awardee told PTI here.

We could perform better in the international arena particularly at Asia level if we have more international exposure as we have talented footballers with good skills, technique and speed, he said.

The emphasis should be on international exposure at home than sending the team abroad more, he said elaborating that we should invite foreign teams to play at home more than sending our boys abroad.

The matches against the foreign teams should be played in every states particularly in football crazy states such as Kerala, Goa, West Bengal to promote and encourage football, Brahmanand, the assistant coach of Goa`s Sesa Football Academy that participated in the AIFF 2nd Division I-League qualifying round matches here.

Brahmanand strongly advocated for a 2nd Division I-league rather than for qualifying round for elevation for main I-league.

Ten teams from across the country should be selected based on points earned in the qualifying round and than conduct a 2nd Division I-league for them. This would provide more opportunities for upcoming players to prove their mettle, he said.

Regretting that the number of tournaments in some of the football crazy states like Kerala has come down, Brahmanand, whose international career lasted for about a decade in the 1980s, said attempt should be made to revive more tournaments in states as well as home and away leagues to promote football.

Brahmanand said the second rank and upcoming footballers should be preferred in the local tournaments and leagues being organized at state-level rather than the top ranked players representing the country or the top class domestic leagues such I-league.

The local leagues should made purely for locals rather inviting the foreigners to provide more exposure, Brahmanand told PTI.

The top tanked footballers should be allowed to concentrate when they were playing I-league or representing the country to ease their physical load, he said adding that such move would certainly provide opportunity to others to improve their performance.

Regretting that we could hardly seen good Indian strikers such as Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chetri, Brahmanand said his idea for local leagues purely for locals was to create more strikers as most of the Indian strikers in local league matches were seen sitting in Bench now-a-days.

Brahamanand claimed Sesa Football Academy was the only team participating in the qualifying round I-league that did not hire a single foreigner and preferred locals.

Asked whether India was lacking qualified coach, Brahmanand said it was really irony that when the Indian brains were sought after in all sector world-wide, the meritorious football coaches were not being trusted.

"Identify talented coaches, educate them properly and ensure excellent facility including payment, I am confident India is not lacking as far as good coaches are concerned," former Indian goalkeeper said.