2/24/2019 10:07:14 PM (GMT+3)

Coaches should be more open-minded, says ex-Olympian Sundararaj

Coaches should be more open-minded, says ex-Olympian Sundararaj

KOLKATA, India: Former India stalwart and football Olympian Simon Sundararaj exuded confidence in Indian club’s development programmes, but said that the right approach is important to develop talented players.

“My advice on nurturing young talent is to allow kids to flourish in their natural way. When a kid is chipping the ball, we must allow him to do it in his own way. We shouldn’t curb his natural game,” said Sundararaj, who scored India’s last Olympics goal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

The 81-year-old was felicitated by Chennaiyin FC at his residence in Thanjavur on Sunday. He was presented with a personalised jersey by the club’s Technical Director of Youth Development Syed Sabir Pasha.

“Coaches must weigh the strong points of a child’s playing style and nurture it accordingly. They shouldn’t restrict them or impose certain set ways of playing football. The coaches should be more open-minded in their approach,” added the former midfielder.

Sundararaj was the first player to represent Tamil Nadu in the national team. He also coached Pasha in 2000 in the Santosh Trophy.

“I’m very happy that Sabir paid me a visit today. I’m humbled by the felicitation from Chennaiyin FC. It’s nice to connect with former footballers. This also gave me an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, reminiscing my footballing days,” said Sundararaj, who is famous for his goal against Peru in India’s last group game at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Hailing from Thanjavur, Sundararaj played Indian football’s golden era. He contributed both as a player and a coach and led Kerala to their maiden Santosh Trophy triumph in 1973.

“It was an absolute pleasure meeting Simon sir and felicitating him on behalf of all of us at Chennaiyin FC. He’s an icon of Indian football. Young players need to be reminded of stalwarts like him. He has brought glory to Indian football both as a player and a coach. He shared his views on youth development and,” said Pasha.