New Delhi: Versatile Indian footballer Syed Rahim Nabi feels their 168th ranking in FIFA chart is not a true reflection of the country`s national team and says it is far better than that.
India won the Nehru Cup after beating Cameroon in Sunday`s final for their third triumph on the trot, but did not get points as the matches were not played on FIFA dates.
"We have to play more on FIFA dates. We are a side on the rise and that has to reflect at the World stage. The clubs have to be supportive as well as the media. Playing on FIFA dates will make the result count. Surely, we are much much better than the FIFA rankings," Nabi said.
According to the right-back, Indian football is headed in the right direction.
"I reiterate, it`s on the right track and heading in the right direction. We need to invest judiciously and promote the game. AIFF is doing a great job for sure.
"Media has a role to play as well. They need to highlight budding talent. The likes of Lenny (Rodrigues), Francis (Fernandes), Denzil (Franco), Nirmal (Chhetri), Jewel (Raja), Manandeep (Singh) deserve the limelight. It is not only about Nabi, Sunil (Chhetri), and Subrata (Pal).
The "never-say-die" attitude of the players was one of the factors in India winning the tournament against a storng Cameroon side, ranked 109 places above the hosts, said Nabi.
"The never-say-die attitude instilled by our coach (Wim Koevermans) was special. He used to tell us `I want the Cup`. He wanted to focus on the task ahead and not be overawed by anything. One game at a time was his philosophy.
"We are a confident bunch and the camaraderie stays fantastic. The days in the camp just flew by. If you noticed, in the final, we closed their movement on the flanks and that did the trick for us."
Asked about his ability to play in any position, he said, "I started my career as a striker. Under Subhash-sir (Bhowmick), I played side back and from then on playing in different positions became my forte."
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal