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Rob Baan: Pre-FIFA U-17 World Cup Tournament is a must

Rob Baan

Rob Baan

If Indian national coach Wim Koevermans spoke of the right people needed to ‘jump into the bus’, AIFF Technical Director Robert Baan articulated how the ‘bus’, which is on its way to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in three years time, can be best accommodated.

The views were expressed in the two-day FICCI GOAL 2014 Indian Football Summit which ended in New Delhi on Friday.

“The national team will be travelling between 160 and 140 in the FIFA Rankings for the next few years. That is the reality. You need the right kind of people to jump into the bus that is going in the right direction, rather than sulking over things,” Koevermans maintained.

Picking up from his fellow Dutchman, Baan while charting an inclusive pathway for the ‘Road to 2017’, said: “I know that there are a lot of obstacles such as budgets, infrastructure, and facilities. But we need the right kind of module followed religiously and in a systematic manner to be followed.”

“First of all, we need coaching staff who have prior experience at that level. Indian coaches would not be having that experience simply because a tournament of such magnitude has never taken place in our country,” added the Technical Director.

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Baan also laid stress on having more and more competitions for the U-17 World Cup team.

“Good coach education and training is not sufficient. You need to have regular competitions at that age-group which is preparing for the World Cup. That is very important.”

The former Australia and The Netherlands Technical Director pointed out that success at the youth spectacle in three years time is relative for a country like India.

“Success can be a semifinal or a final finish. Success can also be a group stage exit. It depends who you are. For India, 2-1 defeats in the group stages would be a decent performance. A 6-0 humbling would be disastrous at the same time,” Baan pronounced.

As per Baan’s presentation on how India should best prepare for its maiden stint in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, he stressed that a Pre-World Cup Tournament in 2016 involving countries from all regions starting Asia, Africa, Europe and South America should be organised.

Similarly, the World Cup team should also travel to different parts of the world for exposure trips.

“Players need to adapt to different cultures, different playing styles. Also you need international tournaments every year leading up to a Pre-World Cup tournament in the country involving all the top nations,” Baan advised.

According to him, there should ideally be 40 matches per year for the boys, two academies with 30 players each (26 + 4 goalkeepers), and tournaments like a National School Tournament, a National State Tournament and also a National Academy Tournament.

Speaking about the technical aspect of what should be ideally followed, Baan said: “Build up from the back, then always passing forward, tight defending and change of position are some of the things we need to work on if we are to build a competitive team for the World Cup.

“Nowadays, you don’t see a player sticking to one position all the time. (Arjen) Robben is sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left. All these things need to be inculcated,” added Baan.

Echoing Baan, Koevermans said that India need to identify the developmental areas and work on it by setting short term goals.

“We won’t be beating Nigeria in our first preparation game. So we need to take the steps gradually and not jump the gun. But at the same time we need to progress methodically and all the stakeholders need to put their act together without any delay. Three years is not a long time.”

RELATED: 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup – A Stairway to Heaven… or to Hell? [+read the article]

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)