Gurgaon:In an attempt to improve Indian football, coach Bob Houghton has adopted the same mantra that his predecessor Stephen Constantine had implemented in 2002.
He brought together the coaches of the biggest football clubs in the country and asked them to work side by side with the national team.
The Indian football team trained under the watchful eyes of coach Bob Houghton ahead of their exposure trip to Portugal.
However, this session over the weekend was attended not just by the players but also by the coaches of the country's top seven football clubs. The idea was to involve big clubs in team building.
"What we can do is, monitor the fitness program, strategise the game and plan. The players who play for us are grown up lads. They can't be taught the basics now. But Bob's a good coach and he is showing is the way forward," said Bimal Ghosh- Coach, Air India football team.
So, there was an atmosphere of give and take but there are certain problems the club coaches say will take time to sort out. Of the 27 footballers attending the national camp, seven are from Mahindra United. Their coach says a good performace at the national camp may not translate into the same level when they turn out for their club.
"As far as facilities are concerned, we wont be able to give them what they are getting here with the national team. The training grounds, diet will not be at par with what they are getting here. That is where we need to educate the players," said Derek Pereira- Coach, Mahindra United Club.
But fitness and developing tactical skills left aside, another critical area of discussion between the national and club coaches was the issue of scheduling.
"Whoever are involved in Indian football are not very happy with where we are. The main reason for that is not because of the quality of the players but because we have not played enough matches.
One of the things that I discussed with the coaches was the calendar. To make sure that the national team plays at least 15 matches a year and this year we have managed to organise that,' said Bob Houghton- Chief Coach, India Team.
So, the coaches have taken notes and are all ready to improve their own training standards. But for the standard of play to improve, what is needed is a change in attitude, with the clubs conducting themselves on a much more professional level.