PANAJI, Sept 16 (PTI): Brazilian legend Zico, the most high-profile coach in the upcoming Indian Soccer League, wants the �Japan model� to be followed by India in order to improve the standard of the game in a country of 1.4 billion people.
�If football needs to grow in India, one needs collective effort just like it happened in Japan,� said Zico, who will be in charge of ISL franchise FC Goa.
�When I first went to Japan (1991), there was no professional set-up but the biggest advantage was the intent and collective effort by the Japanese people to raise the standard of their game in the country,� said Zico, who had scored 48 international goals in 71 appearances for Brazil.
�In India, if you want football to grow, it will depend on Indian players and how hard people here are willing to work for the betterment of the game. I am not bothered if you have amateurs or professionals but my job is to help with my expertise but intent is in your hands. From my end, I assure my co-operation and experience,� one of the biggest names in world football in 1980�s apart from Diego Maradona and Michel Platini.
One of the greatest players to have never won a World Cup, Zico made it clear that he is not here to be a �mere passenger� but is eyeing to contribute for the cause of Indian football.
�Asia is becoming stronger and I have not come here to be a mere passenger. I want to be part of the development of the game in India. Despite being such a huge country, it is unfortunate that India have not made a mark in the football map of the world,� lamented Zico, who was also known as �White Pele� for his dazzling skills.
Zico had come to India a decade earlier, back in 2004, as the coach of the Japan national team, which played a World Cup qualifier against India in Kolkata. Zico does vividly remembers that whistlestop visit.
�I came here in 2004 in Kolkata for the World Cup qualifiers and saw a stadium (Salt lake Stadium) full of crowd. Obvisouly, they love football and if you got so much love, that you need to develop football at higher level. I hope, we all work together the federation and the government so that football will rise to greater height,� stated Zico.
Zico believes that ISL will help raise the quality of the game in India and there will be a proper football culture that is necessary for the betterment of the game.
�With the big league, I hope the quality will rise and will have new culture that will benefit football. We know for the success, we have to work very hard and I have always worked hard for my own country and I have now come to India to do the same.
�Individually, we cannot achieve our goal but collectively we can. I have come here with lot of experience and will definetly do the best to help raise Indian football,� he said.
Zico�s primary aim is to take FC Goa into the final of the inaugural edition of ISL.
�During next few months, the aim is to see the team reach the final. We need to win matches and I am optimistic, we will achieve the goal. We have to prepare well and need to know each and every player in the FC Goa. I want to share my footballing philosophy with every player during this short time.�