It's up to states to build teams for future: Stephen Constantine

Keeping in mind the Under-17 World Cup and Indian Super League, national football coach Stephen Constantine on Wednesday put the onus on states to streamline youth leagues with an aim to develop a strong pool of players within the next few years.

PTI| Updated: Mar 04, 2015, 20:45 PM IST
It's up to states to build teams for future: Stephen Constantine

Guwahati: Keeping in mind the Under-17 World Cup and Indian Super League, national football coach Stephen Constantine on Wednesday put the onus on states to streamline youth leagues with an aim to develop a strong pool of players within the next few years.

India is hosting the 2017 FIFA tournament.

"The best players will be playing in the Hero Indian Super League. The league is for readymade players. So it's up to the states to start focusing on the U-17 and U-19 Leagues and build it for the future," Constantine said.

The Briton asked the fans of this region to get behind his players when they take on Nepal in their first leg 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers here on March 12.

The team will soon start a preparatory camp for the upcoming fixtures.

"There's a specific reason why I have come to Guwahati to play against Nepal. It's because of the crowd," Constantine said.

"People love their football here. We look forward to having a packed Stadium on the 12th against Nepal. I expect all football lovers to make as much noise as possible and get behind the players. It's a very important match for us."

The captain has to reflect the personality of the coach and will be of my choice. I am privileged to be the sole coach in India's football history to have been invited to coach the Indian national team for a second time. I am honoured."

The Indian team will be having its first practice session at the Indian Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Sajusarai tomorrow.

"The set of players which we had invested in for the Ian Rush Trophy, the Milk Cup, Afro Asian Games during my first stint in India went on to serve Indian football for over a decade.

"Indians have always loved their football as much they love their cricket. I remember over 100000 fans turning up to cheer India against Japan in Kolkata for the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers."