vital support

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Jul 2017 11:07:48

FORMER Indian captain Baichung Bhutia’s assertion that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has assured to provide continued support for the development of the game of football in the country, is indeed a welcome news both for the players as well as the fans all over the country. Bhutia has said that the Prime Minister is evincing great interest in the forthcoming Under-17 World Cup to be hosted by India and has assured all support to the successful hosting of the big event. In this context the Prime Minister has said that he will continue to support the promotion of the game even after the Under-17 World Cup. That should be music to the ears of the lovers of the game in the country. If the Prime Minister indeed were to evince interest in the promotion of football in the country that will act as an elixir for the development of the game. 

The Prime Minister’s assurance should be viewed in the background of the recent statement of chief national coach Stephen Constantine that it is difficult to assemble a cohesive national Under-23 team in a matter of just a week for an international engagement as the supply chain, from the Under-17 and Under-19 is too brittle to fulfill the needs of the Under-23 team. Mr. Constantine says that while players of national teams of other countries like Qatar, Syria and Turkmenistan, against whom the Indian team is pitted in the continental qualifiers next month, playing together for nearly five years and are gelling well, it is pathetic that India is in the process of cobbling up a team. That is indeed a sad commentary on the situation.

This is in sharp contrast to cricket in the country. Cricket’s supply line is impeccable as there is no dearth of players who are always seen to be knocking at the doors for entry into the national team, posing a huge dilemma for the national selectors as to whom to leave out. State associations function like well-oiled machines, providing support to emerging talent, training, facilities and timely exposure. There is so much to learn from the management of the game of cricket in India for other sports organisations in the country. Of course the cricket body is one of the richest sports organisation in the country and enjoys huge commercial support. And therefore is in a position to support and fulfill all the needs of the players in all respects, including substantive pay packets.

Finance of course is a major inhibiting factor for many sports organisations in the country. For them Government support is all that that provides sustenance. It is in the light of this situation that the assurance by the Prime Minister to support development of football in the country provides some hope. Then there will be no dearth of popular support for the game.