IM Vijayan flattered by Sachin Tendulkar`s soccer knowledge, interest

Kolkata: Former India international footballer IM Vijayan is flattered by cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar`s knowledge of soccer and the little master`s keenness to learn the finer points of the game.

Vijayan Tuesday said he had had talks with Tendulkar after the Mumbaikar became the co-owner of the Kochi-based Indian Super League franchise Kerala Blasters Football Club.

"I have had discussions with him. I have been flattered by his knowledge of soccer, his ideas about the game, and eagerness to know more about it," Vijayan said on the sidelines of an ISL event.

The "black pearl" of Indian soccer said during his discussions about the game with Tendulkar, he was pleasantly surprised to learn how closely the cricketer followed football.

"He is a iconic cricketer. But his interest in the game is praiseworthy," said Vijayan.

However, the former Indian soccer skipper said he had no plans to hitch on to Kerala Blasters in any official capacity. "I am happy with my job in Kerala Police."

Vijayan, along with Jose Barreto, Subrata Paul and Syed Rahim Nabi graced the ISL`s grassroots workshop at the Bidhannagar Municipal Sports Complex.

The ISL`s first phase of ambitious grassroots development program for its clubs` concluded here during the day with over 100 children participating in the festival.

Vijayan said such festivals would prove beneficial for Indian soccer. "These workshops can help us unearth talent."

The three-day Grassroots Workshop was organised with the aim of educating and training the ISL Clubs` appointed grassroots development officers in both theoretical as well as practical aspects of different age group training.

In all 26 such grassroots development officers participated in the three-day workshop, conducted by Piet Hubers, UEFA Grassroots Expert from the Netherlands who was present here as a special invitee along with Scott O`Donell, technical director - academies and director, coach education at AIFF.

Asked whether Indian football can move forward if it followed the Dutch model, Hubers said: "It may be good for Indian soccer. But success depends on how you cope with it."

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