‘PIO players will help develop football quicker in India’

Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) East Bengal’s new coach Biswajit Bhattacharya on Thursday said players of the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) category, if allowed to ply their trade, will help develop the game of football in the country.

National coach Stephen Constantine, a few days earlier, had said he has already made a list of a few PIO players who if brought into the Indian team can make a difference.

The British coach also said India’s recent 1-2 loss to Guam in the 2018 World Cup qualifying match raised the issue more.

After the loss, Constantine cited Guam’s example which fielded several PIO players during their win against India.

He felt India were severely handicapped due to the government’s refusal to allow PIO footballers to play, particularly against emerging football countries similar to India.

Speaking on the issue, Bhattacharya said: ” PIO players will lead to quick development in Indian football. These are players who have played all around the world and their presence will boost the national team.”

The veteranm who had earlier enjoyed coaching stints with Mohun Bagan, also said Constantine needs to sit down and discuss with club coaches on what they should collectively look to do, so that it helps the country’s football to prosper.

“Constantine needs to sit with the club coaches and groom them, tell them what exactly they need to do with players so that they can benefit the national side in the long run,” he said.

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