‘Age-cheating’ rampant problem in Indian football: U-17 coach

Wellington, Sep 10 (IANS) Indian Under-17 football team’s coach Nicolai Adam says one of the biggest problems he has had to face while scouting players from all parts of India is “age-cheating”.

“We have been able to find a few boys (after scouting). Unfortunately, in all the states I travelled to, we have to deal with the problem of age-cheating,” Adam said.

“The boys themselves confessed that they were overage and we did MRIs with them.”

The German coach insisted that the regional scouts have helped pick some good talents but still much of it is untapped.

“Without their (regional scouts) help we won’t be able to find more talent. I believe there are many other good players or maybe better ones, whom we need to tap.”

Adam also said scouting would go on, adding that some players might have to leave the World Cup squad so that other better talents can be drafted in.

“We need to give some time and see how they do (players in the squad). It could easily happen that some of the new boys scouted by us will be sent away again if in the next couple of weeks they are not able to develop in the manner we want them to. If we find better players they would be drafted in. The door will always stay open both ways, in and out of the World Cup squad.”

In October we will try to travel again to find new players. We haven’t been to some states as of yet and I feel the pre-selection in other states can be done better. I reiterate if it’s done better we can find more talented players,” he added.

Asked about the demography of the country and how big was this challenge to him, Adam said: “It’s huge and there are millions of kids in the age group which we are looking for.

At the same time, travelling isn’t easy in such a vast Country and there isn’t any football infrastructure in many regions. Add to that the lack of football education in most parts makes it that much difficult. I was able to make an analysis of the state associations and have a pretty clear picture as to who is dedicated to the development of football and who isn’t,” he said.

The squad is presently in Germany practicing and Adam said it was part of their preparations for the near future where they play against top teams.

“It is part of the preparation for the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) U-16 qualifiers which are to be held in Tabriz City in Iran. Furthermore, we will also be competing in Spain after the AFC qualifiers to get more international experience for the team versus top class teams.

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