By Stephen Constantine, May 26 2015 11:21AM
In less than a month the World Cup /Asian Cup qualifiers begin and our quest for glory with a home game against a very good Oman side on June the 11th which also coincides with my 20th wedding anniversary !! I will of course be fully focused on the job at hand and my wife Lucy can expect the usual number of Roses, 20 in this case . It will be a very difficult game but we have a group of young players who want to do well and I am optimistic we can get our campaign off to a good start. Of course with Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Guam there will be no easy games for us and we will need to be at our best in all the games if we want to get anything at all. My schedule has been very hectic these last few months and I have spent more time in the air then on the ground given the number of flights I have been on. I now have a much better idea of what we have in terms of ability and of course a clearer picture of what we need to do going forward.
There will of course be some faces in the coming games and they will need time to get used to the pace and quality that is International football, but I can assure you no matter what happens we will fight to the death and we will not stop pressing, pushing and trying to make things as difficult as we can for any team we face. We are entering a new phase in India and we must take advantage of this wave of interest in the beautiful game here and look to build on things. Our U17 National Team have recently appointed Nicolai Adam who like me is someone who does not like to lose and will work hard to help the players, then we have Lee Johnson who I have brought over with me from Rwanda and he too is another coach who will demand and get the best out of the U19 players. So the thought of those U17 /U19 players getting quality coaching over the next few years have a wonderful opportunity to make their mark not only in India but abroad as well.
I have also set up a Scouting Network that I hope will aid in the quest to find more players for all the age groups and at the very least we can expand our pool of young players. To help me do this I have appointed Abhishek Yadav as the Director of National Scouts who will oversee the operation for me and Lee Johnson will act as the Technical Scout with Regional Scouts in each State. Abhishek has offered to do this free of cost in order to help us and the AIFF with regard to costs and this is also a very commendable act and much appreciated. Obviously the Regional Scouts will get a basic salary and bonuses if and when they deliver the goods! It is an ambitious project and it will not work over night a lot of work has to be done and it will be, but again we need time to get things up and running the way I want and in every corner of this great land. We will start with a handful of States to see how it goes and then take it from there, within 3 years I would like every State in the country to be covered by one of our Regional Scouts and every player that dreams of playing should get the opportunity. In July we will also recruit an old friend of mine called Derek Bragg who is a top class professional scout, he will come to India for a few days and pass on his knowledge in how to scout. All of our Regional Scouts will attend the workshop and will benefit greatly from this and really help them to understand what to look for in terms of the type of player we are looking for.
Players will report on the 3rd of June and all being well camp starts on the 4th as build up to the game on the 11th. It will be a big test for as I have said before and am really looking forward to it , the game will be in Bangalore and hopefully the Blue Fans of Bangalore will be there in numbers to support the team.
All the best