Former Iran player and East Bengal star Jamshid Nassiri, who is coaching the Indian youngsters nowadays speak to Gaurav Jha of Indian Sports News about the changes that are needed in Indian football for it to be recognised on the International platform; how are the youngsters important to the game and many more. Excerpts:
ISN: What are your expectations from the youngsters participating in this event?
Nassiri: The first thing that I expect from any youngster is to make it to the Indian National Football team. I look for the talented school kids who can be coached. We have been conducting this tournament from the past four years. The winner of this tournament will go on to compete in the national championship in Shillong and the winner later will be coached at Inter Milan.
ISN: What is the role organisation like Tata play in promoting the sport?
Nassiri: Tata already has a football academy in Jamshedpur. Tata Tea has been conducting this tournament from the past four years and many players from here are in the Indian u-16 and u-19 Indian teams. Many players from the football academy are playing for the national team, while some players are playing for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
ISN: What is the one thing that the Indian football is lacking right now?
Nassiri: Indian football is lacking in proper infrastructure, proper management and administration. Previously we had financial problems but now it’s all sorted now. There is plenty of money invested in the game which can be used to develop the players. Indian football needs to invest more in the youngsters.
ISN: Do Indian youngsters have it in them to compete with the teams from other countries?
Nassiri: Yes, definitely. Even now I know a couple of 15 years old kids who can give likes of Sunil Chhetri a run for their money. They can compete with any team and present the desired result. Their success will depend on how AIFF handles them.
ISN: What did you like more, playing or coaching?
Nassiri: When I played the game I was happy and now when I see the kids playing that makes me happy too. The two are different feelings I cannot compare them
ISN: Do you think players who have played the game make better coaches?
Nassiri: If you know the sport and if you have played the sport than it’s an added advantage. To be a better coach one requires good management skills. Sometimes it becomes difficult for a person who has not played the game to understand the minute details of the game. You must know the sport inside out if you want to be a successful coach or for that matter a successful administrator.
ISN: What is the first thing you look for in a youngster?
Nassiri: Right now I am training Indian boys and I am enjoying it. If I am able to produce players who can represent the country it will be very good. It has been almost 32 years in India; and I have got the Indian citizenship also. All my friend are from India now, so I don’t miss my home much
ISN: What do you think is a perfect age for youngsters to be coached?
Nassiri: India is different from the European nations. In European countries a player is sent to an academy when he is very young. It can’t happen in India, parents here in India are very cautious about their children getting proper education. So here the perfect age would be around 12-14.