9/6/2018 11:13:37 PM (GMT+3)

Constantine, when can Indian footballers learn the art of smart play?

Constantine, when can Indian footballers learn the art of smart play?

India’s national football coach Stephen Constantine’s unending experiment continues at the SAFF Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the Englishman said his boys had failed to fulfil his expectations in their 2-0 win over Sri Lanka.

Those who follow the fortunes of the Indian teams – senior, U23 and the subsequent age-groups – would agree that Constantine’s fad for experiments over the last couple of years with first two has yielded no great results.  

On the contrary, Constantine used his twitter handle on Thursday to talk about his coaching at international level, challenges he faced throughout his career & the art of finding a way and, then explains how he used paper plates and stones for cones on a dirt field in Goa.

But he did get some time to speak on the U23 team’s performance at a regional tournament, which is being used a ‘selection trial’ to pick a couple of players for the Asia Cup squad.  

“I’m not happy with the performance. We need to rectify the mistakes before the next match. We’ve to learn how to play more smartly,” he said on the federation website.

We wonder how many more months would be needed for our boys to learn the art of ‘smart play’ before the senior team land in the UAE for the continental competition in January.

Constantine is looking after the senior and Olympic squad which, interestingly, has travelled a lot in the last one year as a part of his scouting and training programmes, but according to him they still haven’t learnt a lot.

A month ago when the India U19 beat their Argentinian counterparts at a regional event in Spain, everybody including him heralded it a ‘great win’ for Indian football.

On a daily basis, we are fed with tweets like ‘Indian football on an upward curve’, ‘India beat Argentina’ on the social media though there’s always a thin line between truth and success that were ‘hyped’ by everyone including former and current AIFF faithful’s.

Social-media hype has taken Indian football to Cloud 9. Be realistic. Compete where the best competes. The Asian U16 competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this month will show how good we are -- winning at regional events doesn’t show Indian football's real strength.

Constantine is one of those foreign coaches who makes his living on a diet that has no nutritional value. If he were that good, we would’ve had positive results or victories, at least, with the Olympic squad in competitions where the best sides compete.

We still don’t know who’re in his core team as his rotational policy makes us go round and round without any positive outcome.

His coaching staff and the AIFF social media gloated on the national team’s success in the low-profile tournaments under his coaching. Some still talk about Indian team’s giant leap in the FIFA rankings. Well, all these developments doesn’t really reflect the real rise of Indian football.

We all hope that the federation and its mouthpieces won’t brag and boast on the social media if India wins in Dhaka because the current generation of followers are much smarter on the internet as they can easily judge the quality quotient of a regional tournament played by some of the most unprofessional South Asian teams.

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