La Liga Football School (India) technical director talks about the state of football in India.
Football in India has grown immencely in the past few years with even Spanish first division football league (La Liga) have shown their interest in developing India's youth by creating grassroots development programme, LaLiga Football Schools (LLFS).
Javier Cabrera, LLFS India's technical director, spoke with Sportstar regarding the state of football in the nation and how they should develop it,
"Football enthusiasm in India is growing exponentially. In my opinion, there are three aspects that a football country should develop in order to have a proper youth system. One, infrastructure, for me this is the biggest problem that India is currently facing and there has not been much improvement in the last years. There are very few grounds available in good conditions where a club can develop a proper training methodology. Two, coaches and education programs. I think, in this matter, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is doing a good job and we are slowly seeing the results. There are interesting young Indian coaches today that are capable of developing good training sessions.
Three, the competition system. Kids and coaches need to play matches to grow. At the youth level, we need to understand competition as one more part of the learning process, where the kids will understand how to face real situations of the game. Without competition, the process is incomplete. Indian youth competition system has improved in the last years, but there are still areas to work on." Said Javier.
When asked about the changes that the domestic structure of football in India needs, Javier said,
"The domestic structure has been changing positively in the last four to five years in India at the youth development level. Today, any club or academy in the country, which passes the academy accreditation process, has options to play U13, U15 and U18 I-Leagues. The structure of these competitions still is an area of improvement, especially in the number of matches played per team, but at least there are options for the kids to play official matches in almost every state of the country.
Besides these competitions, now we have the baby leagues, by far the best initiative that the federation has taken since I arrived in the country. Baby leagues are the perfect stage to nurture Indian talent and are going to become the base of the football pyramid in the country"