GUWAHATI, July 16 - In order to take the standard of Indian football to the next level organisers have to work hard at the grassroots level, opined Larsing Ming Sawyan, the AIFF vice president and chairman of the AIFF Development Committee.
Attending as the appointed speaker in the 3rd Pulin Das Memorial Lecture here and speaking on the subject �Future of Football in India�, Ming said, India had been a football powerhouse in Asia in 1960s and 1970s. But after that the country with the second largest population in the world had to face a lean phase and its ranking in FIFA list went down miserably.
India won Asian Games gold medal in 1951 and 1962 but after that the Indian fame faded, while countries like Japan, China, Iran, Iraq made strides.
Describing about European countries, Ming said, Spain�s Real Madrid Club has the best facilities. They groom youngsters at the grassroots level by providing best possible facilities. The governments in those countries also help the clubs in developing their infrastructure. In the Latin American countries also, much stress is given to players at an early stage so that in future they can become stars.
He said national level leagues may help in developing the standard of the game in India.
Giving example of the Northeast, particularly Mizoram and Manipur, Ming said that this part of the country has tremendous potential and produced numerous internationals.
The football academies like Tata Football Academy always have to depend on the players of the NE region. Ming, the managing director of Shillong Lajong FC, praised Mizoram for their effort in developing the game and informed that the State now has five artificial football turfs, which is maximum in the country. In the present Indian U-17 team there are several players from the NE, he said.
Member Secretary of the SLAC for the students and youth welfare, Lakhya Konwar, speaking on the occasion praised Pulin Das� effort in setting up several State level sports organisations. He also vowed to take sports to the masses and encourage youngsters to take sports seriously.
Former Director of Sports Swapnanil Baruah highlighted on Pulin Das� career as sports organiser and sports journalist. Director of Sports Pabitra Ram Khound and Pulin Das� son Kalyan Kumar Das also spoke on the occasion.
The function was organised by the Assam Sports Journalists Association on the occasion of Pulin Das� 3rd death anniversary.