In a very positive move for the sport in India, The All India Football Federation (AIFF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dutch Football Association (KNVB) for the development of the game in the country. The MOU will stress on the following aspects of Indian football – the Youth Development Programme, Women’s Football and Coach Education.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das and the Secretary-General of KNVB Mr Gijs de Jong both signed the agreement last month. There have been talks between KNVB and the AIFF since 2011 about improving the coaching standards and training facilities in India, but nothing fruitful was done until the above mentioned MOU was signed.
Kushal Das was pretty pleased with the agreement and was hopeful that it might bring a change in Indian football. “It’s great to sign a formal MOU with KNVB. Our relationship with Dutch football started way back in 2011 when Mr Robert Baan joined us as the Technical Director. He had created our roadmap – the Laskhya which we are still following,” said Kushal during a press meet.
Gijs de Jong also expressed his pleasure in signing the deal and feels the collaboration would create a platform where AIFF and KNVB can help each other. “If we both head in the right direction we can play the FIFA Women’s World Cup together in the near future,” said the Dutch.
India is currently ranked 97th as per the latest FIFA rankings, which is huge achievement compared to where the ‘Blue Tigers’ stood three years ago. But this has to continue for football to survive in the midst of a cricket crazy nation. Sunil Chhetri’s 100th International match was attended by 9000 spectators at the Mumbai Football Arena which was a rare sight. It is kind of support Indian football needs on a regular basis.
Football is on a rise in our country and development at the grassroots is of great importance. The sport is being taken seriously recently with the introduction of the Indian Super League and also due to the brilliant display of the national team in the past few years. These initiatives will definitely help the cause to a greater extent; hopefully the ‘sleeping giants of world football’ will wake up at last!