Mumbai, July 21 (IANS) Former England defender Sol Campbell on Tuesday said despite being a cricket crazy nation, India can reach football’s bigger stage if it focuses on developing football from the grass roots level.
The 40-year-old former English club Arsenal’s defender said the key to raise the game’s profile in India and build a national team to tackle the best in the world can only be done through proper structure, training and getting the youth involved.
“I know India can do it, India have the funds to do it and reach to the game’s bigger stage. So it’s just about the structure, training and get the youth involved will be the future of Indian football,” Campbell said here at the launch of the PUMA Arsenal kits for the 2015-2016 season.
“I started to play football first in East London Street. I am from the streets. I think there where it begins, it all starts from the bottom, the grassroots level, get young boys get involved in football and love football. I know cricket is big here but football can reach a long way.”
“Once you get the youth engaged, and start from the roots and structure them, have a master plan, you need to have good training methods, good coaches over here if you want to move ahead football in India,” he added.
Campbell, an Arsenal legend, joined the London-based club from rivals Tottenham Hotspur in 2011 and won two English Premier League titles and FA Cups during his five-year tenure at the club. He was also part of the famed “Invincibles” squad that won the league undefeated in the 2003-04 season.
Speaking about his former club’s prospects next season in the English Premier League, he said, “the mentality of the players should be to go out there and win for their side. We need to change the frequency in the front. Hopefully striker Alexis Sanchez will have a good season coming up. Sanchez has impressed me a lot in the previous season.”