7/21/2018 1:23:48 PM (GMT+3)

Africans get stepmotherly treatment in Indian clubs: Bola

Africans get stepmotherly treatment in Indian clubs: Bola

HELSINKI, Finland: Former Mohammedan Sporting coach Moshood 'Bola' Abdulaziz still cherishes his time spent in Calcutta, where he had coached the club for a season.

But Bola, who helped Sporting win their second Durand Cup title after Independence, blamed the selection system and the club’s growing fad for European coaches as some of the reasons behind the sport’s gradual decline in standard.

“Indian football has money, but it has to utilise it wisely. It’s a sheer of waste of wealth when you hire only ‘white’ coaches and players. That’s the tragedy. The clubs also don’t follow the right channel and the absence of a professional structure has hindered its development,” Bola told khelupdates.com.

He also felt that the Africans are given a step-motherly treatment by the Indian clubs.

“Chima Okorie gave Indian football a new dimension. A lot of Africans including Nigerians followed his footsteps. Some of them had enriched Indian football, but they don’t get opportunities. The clubs must stop being choosy on foreign players’ selection,” said the 49-year-old UEFA Pro License coach.  

Bola, who came to this country almost three decades ago, currently coaches Atlantis FC in the fourth-tier Finnish League.

Known for his standardised technical training methods and discipline, he helped Atlantis gain prominence. While Sporting too benefited from his coaching after their 2013 Durand Cup triumph.

“I was told that the club won the world’s third oldest football tournament after 73 years. But then what had transpired after the triumph was painful. More than the failure on the ground, it was the politicking by a group of officials that had devastated me,” he said.

On ISL, which was started in 2014, Bola felt that it has failed to live up to its expectations.

“Football has no colour. When a club starts selecting between white and black players, it affects the overall standard. I’m not saying its racism, but it doesn’t help the sport’s growth,” he added.

The Indian football federation handed the tournament a ‘special treatment’ last season by ignoring I-League – India’s top-tier competition – and discontinued popular events like Federation Cup.  

“You have to be honest to the audience who comes to watch the sport. The first two ISL editions were good. But it lost its lustre and appeal. Football will grow in India if the clubs hire the best and committed players and coaches. I’ve no clue why the officials are ruining India’s football,” said Bola.