India need to make full use of FIFA match days: Sunil Chhetri
Mumbai: India striker Sunil Chhetri on Friday said if the national football squad is able to play the dozen international friendlies on the days earmarked by FIFA, the country can rise up to 110 in world rankings.
"The rankings work in such a way that if you don`t play matches you slide down. There are 12-13 days set aside as FIFA days and the I-League should be structured in such a way that we are able to play on all these days. We can rise up to 110 if this happens," 27-year-old Chhetri said.
Currently India are ranked 164 in the world and 31 in Asia.
The star Mohun Bagan striker, who was here to present Saran Sports with the Limca Book of Records certificate, also wanted the new national coach, whenever he is appointed, to be given a long haul by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
"In my sport the coach is the most important person and I and the other players would give our 100 per cent support to him. I want the new coach to be given as much time as possible for him to understand us and for us to learn from him," he said.
AIFF has zeroed in on former Dutch international Wim Koevermans to take over as the chief coach of the Indian football team for a two-year term, ending more than a year`s search for a full-fledged occupant for the top job.
The approval to appoint the Dutchman as the coach is likely to be given by AIFF`s executive committee next week.
Chhetri desired that Indian footballers are not overburdened by taking part in a number of domestic tournaments, aside from the important ones, and pointed out that top international players are not made to do so in other countries.
According to the New Delhi-born player, Italy, Germany and his personal favourites - World champions and holders Spain - were front-runners to make the semi-finals of Euro 2012 commencing from June 8.