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It’s time for U-19 or U-17 Indian football team to take criticism seriously, Four Nations Trophy

FIFA U-17 World Cup

It’s time for U-19 or U-17 Indian football team to take criticism seriously

It’s good that we are a developing nation and football is on rise in our country, but it doesn’t mean we should create a false notion. Praise is good, team needs that but it doesn’t mean we should always be hyping that. We need a stable environment in which there should be balance between taking criticism and praise, both in the same manner. It’s the proper vehicle to drive you towards a successful future.

India’s U-17 team get full praise for their development. They were highly accolade during U-17 World Cup, although they didn’t win a single match. It was good, team needed that. All Indian Football Federation chairman Praful Patel did a great job in lifting the morale of our young guns, but it doesn’t mean everyone should be going gaga over our little achievement.

Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine was criticized for his remarks, although he has every right to comment as a right judge sitting at the helm of Indian football. He said as DNA reports, “There was a lot of hype in the U-17 team’s performance. They didn’t win any game in the U-17 World Cup and I’m not quite sure what the hype was about. The team did ok. But I never knew why we’re making it such a big deal. In the first place, the team didn’t qualify in the U-17 World Cup, (but played as) India hosted the tournament. Too much was made out of it.

“Did the U-17 team pull up any trees? They lost all the games. It is you guys (the media) that make it (the team) big. The future and the cream of Indian football played in the I-league and came last.”

It was an honest remarks of what he saw at U-17 World Cup. It should have been taken seriously in a good way, but it all goes bad for him. U-17 and U-19 coaches didn’t like it. It was Constantine who suffered criticism after his remarks.

He even has to apologize and explain his point of view. What a shame that you don’t trust your own coach whom you have appointed to take India to the next level. He is the man behind India’s recent successes. He has helped India to rank 96 from 175.

We think, he should have been respected for his honest remarks.

It goes same with the U-20 Indian football team. We gone all crazy after their first ever 2-1 victory over Argentina in Cotif Cup, but we forget that we lose against unknown Spanish clubs like Murcia and Mauritania before that.

After beating Argentina U-20 team, coach Floyd Pinto announced that it is “the biggest days for Indian football”. This victory will definitely earn Indian football more respect in the world of football. It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the world on a regular basis.”

It was good that we won against six time world champions, but it’s not the victory at early stage which counts. It’s the nature of victory which counts. We won with two dead ball situations. Deepak Tangri scored a header from corner-kick and Anwar Ali helped himself with a beautiful free-kick. Your development is measured when you play better in open play.

Constantine has said, “The objective should be to give the upcoming Indian players more game time and to play regularly in competitive games week and week out. I have always said that it’s not about winning but it is about the development in these age-groups.”

“My humble request to the media and the major stakeholders is that we give the boys a chance to develop in their own time. We perhaps put too much pressure and expectancy at this early age and that can sometimes affect them.”

Yes, Argentina is a historical team. They are six time U-20 champions, but they are on downward fall in the last decade. Corruption in Argentina Football Association has taken a toll on their on-field performances. Last time, they were the champions was in 2007. They didn’t qualify for 2009, end up playing quarter-finals in 2011, and they didn’t qualify again in 2013. They were knocked out from the first round in 2015 and 2017 U-20 World Cup.

India’s main test will be in The Four Nations tournament where they are up against Croatia, France, and Slovenia. All three European nations are on rise in recent years. Croatia and France’s youth development programmes are world renowned and Slovenia is also growing fast.

India has already been reminded of their level against Croatia in their opening game. Croatia hammered them 5-0. But, we shouldn’t be over criticizing right now. It’s development stage. Learning will come from there, after playing games against good side week in week out. They will get to know, how they train, what they eat, and how they approach the game.

In recent interview with Times of India, Stephen Constantine said, “We are on the right track. It is a combination of things we need to be doing and one of them is to make sure that our players get competitive games regularly. Also coaches at the grassroots level need to give right information to the players. I think this current crop of players could surprise a few people in the Asian Cup.”

We hope our coaches at the grassroots level take Constantine advice with right spirit. Football is growing in India and we should take advantage of it molding our young players in the right direction. Winning is not the goal, playing with the right attitude should be focus. U-19 or U-17 Indian football teams should take criticism seriously coming from higher orders.


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