Robben hopes Bayern friendly will inspire young Indian footballers



Robben hopes Bayern friendly will inspire young Indian footballersNew Delhi: Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben hoped that the friendly against the Indian team at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Baichung Bhutia`s testimonial would inspire a generation of young Indian footballers.

The 27-year-old Dutch winger, who was part of the Netherland`s team that finished runners-up to Spain in the 2010 World Cup, said high-profile friendly matches would inspire youngsters to take up football in a cricket crazy India.

"First of all, thanks to everybody in India including the fans. It was great to see such enthusiasm. We had a great experience here and a great training camp in Qatar," said Robben.

"The Indian team gave a very good impression, physically they looked very strong and I am sure with better facilities Indian football and footballers will improve. I sincerely hope this match would inspire a generation of young footballers to take up the sport. If they get (more) facilities, they can do even better," he added.

Robben was all praise for the turf at the Nehru Stadium. "It is a really good and big pitch. There were lots of space and we played good football," he said.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes also praised the Indian players and said they defended well in the second half.

"Ideally we wanted more goals but credit to India they defended well in numbers. They looked good initially. They were clever in defence and closed the gaps. We could have scored a few goals in the second half," said Heynckes.

Asked if there was any Indian player, who attracted his attention, Heynckes said: "We are playing at a different level. So, it is difficult and unfair to judge."

Heynckes said his team would leave India with good preparation for the second half of Bundesliga that resumes Friday.

"On behalf of Bayern, I would like to thank everybody in India to welcome us and having us to play this game. It was a good camp in Qatar and today we played a good match in India. We had a good preparation for the Bundesliga and now with (Bastian) Schweinsteiger back as well and (Arjen) Robben also fully fit. We hope to have a very good second half of the season," he said.

IANS