The Indian Super League (ISL) has been touted as a game-changer for the standards of Indian football. However, Chennaiyin FC skipper Bojan Djordjic believes that if the country wants to rise above the current 158th position that it currently languishes in, they should seek the help of smaller countries abroad.
Chennaiyin FC captain Bojan Djordjic (left) along with Gouramangi Singh during an event at the Trident yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
"All India has to do is take help from foreign teams like Sweden, where I am from, and Serbia who have done well. They need to have a step-by-step approach. If they do so you will see results," said the former Manchester United midfielder on the sidelines of the jersey launch of the Chennai franchise yesterday.
The 32-year-old Serbian-born Swedish footballer felt that the players in India are raw and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) should look to nurture them.
"I still cannot believe that out of the 1.2 billion people India can't put even five proper players on the pitch. Indian players are talented, but they are raw. Nobody has worked on them and they have come so far because of their sheer talent.
For India to improve their rankings, they (AIFF) need to concentrate more on the grassroots program. I'm sorry but you cannot afford to function the same way for donkey years. I am not asking them to compare themselves with La Liga or EPL."
Djordjic added that even youngsters need to be more inquisitive if they want to dream of playing in Europe. "The attitude that the youngsters have here (in India) needs to change. They should have the willingness to ask questions.
If they don't ask questions they will never get a reply. For that, they have to initiate conversations. They don't even tell you if something is wrong but they just follow it blindly. It is high time they come out of their shells. Unless they don't start doing that, they can only dream of playing in countries from Europe."