• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

FOOTBALL

Luis Garcia: ‘Indian footballers should aim to play abroad’

The 45-year-old said giving players a chance to appear in foreign leagues would expand their knowledge

By: Eastern Eye

FORMER Spain and Liverpool midfielder Luis Garcia believes that Indian football can touch global heights if the players are given exposure to different leagues abroad and young talents and coaches are trained methodically.

The 45-year-old, who was part of the ISL [Indian Super League] title-winning Atletico de Kolkata side in 2014, said giving players a chance to appear in foreign leagues would expand their knowledge.

“It is very important because you compete against a different style of football (abroad). If you have to wait for the last stages of a tournament to compete against them, then it is only going to be one or two games, and they need to compete more often,” said Garcia, who played for Liverpool in 77 matches between 2004 and 2007 in the English Premier League.

“I think it’s important that the Indian (national) team travel away during the year, and try to have friendly games in Asia and around. The scoreline doesn’t matter as it is about having the feeling of facing a different kind of football.

“I know there are a lot of complications in between. You have to pick up where you left it (post-Covid days), and it is not easy, but it is the only way (to grow).”

Garcia added that young Indian footballers should be given the right kind of coaching to give them a sound base.

“You play only in India. Yes, during the past few years, there have been a lot of efforts to give the tools to the younger generations. That’s the only way you can have a competitive national team.

“If you want to compete at the highest stages, to qualify for a World Cup, you need to allow the young kids to improve their footballing knowledge,” he said.

Garcia, who also played 25 games for Barcelona and 49 for Atletico Madrid in the La Liga, said Indian coaches too should keep themselves abreast with latest trends in coaching.

“I think in the first two-three years of the ISL, a lot of international coaches arrived in India, and they were always surrounded by the Indian coaches. I think that helped (them) a lot.

“So, you need to bring people or allow them to learn how to coach in the highest standards. I would love to say that this has been happening. But there are a lot of things India can do to improve (level of coaching),” he added.

Garcia hoped more Indian coaches would travel to Europe to undertake an in-depth study about modern coaching.

“Hopefully, in the coming years, you can see a lot more (Indian) coaches arriving in Europe or to other different places so that they can learn stuff about coaching. Then you can take that and bring it to India, and you try to mix it with your own methods, so that players can follow it easily,” he added.

Garcia was in India to celebrate the three decades of partnership between Carlsberg and Liverpool FC.

Throughout the partnership, Carlsberg and Liverpool FC [LFC] have collaborated on initiatives to enhance the football fan experience globally, aiming to boost the popularity of European football in India and elevate the overall match-watching experience for LFC supporters and football enthusiasts.

To honour this milestone, Carlsberg India introduced a limited-edition Luis Garcia can in the south Indian state of Karnataka, inspired by the midfielder’s iconic 2005-06 Liverpool FC jersey.

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