KOLKATA, July 29 (PTI): Dutch soccer legend Ruud Gullit today said Indian football is in safe hands with compatriot Wim Koevermans at the helm but added that the country, ranked 163rd in the world, needed to have better training facilities and more pitches for youth development.
Gullit, who led the Netherlands to the Euro 1988 triumph with a team that also included Koevermans, said he was proud that Indians had adapted to their system.
�If you ain�t Dutch, it ain�t much,� he uttered the famous Dutch colloquial proverb.
�I think Indian football is in good hands. The most important for these coaches is to develop youth football because that is where it all starts. It�s important to have training facilities, the pitches.
�Every club there has an amateur team and each team has about three or four pitches. For this reason, every kid has got the opportunity to play in the pitches,� he told reporters.
However, he admitted that it was difficult for a big country like India to have amateur teams as the infrastructure was not there.
�So you have to first think of building pitches, the artificial ones because of the weather.�
The Dutch star was on a two-day visit to the city.
Impressed with the popularity of football here, Gullit said: �I did not know that the football is so extremely popular in India. I thought it was always cricket.
�We don�t play cricket so much in Holland. The only thing we know is we beat England only once, two years ago.�
A two-times European Cup winner with AC Milan, Gullit said he was happy to see their record being not broken by Barcelona when Pep Guardiola�s men failed to win a second straight Champions League.
�In time of Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, we dominated world football for 7-8 years and won all the trophies. Now, it�s Barcelona.�
However, he said, the English clubs would like to get their act together. �Most of the English clubs were in the final of the Champions League. So it�s going to be interesting Champions League season ahead.�
Along with Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, Gullit adjusted himself well with the AC Milan team for a glorious phase in the late 1980s to early 1990s.
�It�s also important to have a philosophy. The Dutch philosophy is we always believe in 4-3-3 system. So when you play with a different formation later on it�s always easy to adapt yourself.
�Our mentality is also different. When you ask a player to do something, he will always say �why�. You have to first explain him. The coach would not be happy with it as it�s better asked after the training. But it is our mentality to understand how to improve.�
Gullit rated Argentine icon Diego Maradona as the greatest. �For me, he is the best player ever. Pele is of course among them. But I�ve never seen Pele play. For me, Maradona was exceptional.�
�I�ve had the privilege to play against him and also with him. Now, Maradona is retired. We have new players now like Ronaldo and Messi. Every time you think there�s not going to be somebody better, it happens,� the 50-year-old said.
The same theory applies to world and Euro champions Spain now.
�When the Brazilians played so well in the 70s, people said there�s never going to be a team better than this. But it has happened. For Spain, they deserved all these trophies. The good thing is they are playing attacking football. There will be a new team again who are going to be better than them.�