Step by step, Iran march ahead in U-17 World Cup
By Krishnendu Banerjee | Express News Service | Published: 13th October 2017 08:46 PM |
MARGAO: Quietly and somewhat unnoticed, Iran have been making a few statements of progress. Not only did they top Group C with an all-win record, they scored 10 goals, conceding just one. A 3-0 thrashing of Costa Rica on Friday completed their group engagements.
From the mid-70s to early 90s, Iranian football was in bad shape, due to political unrest. They faced brief FIFA suspension in 2006. But against odds, Iran have managed to bounce back. Under Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, they have secured World Cup qualification two consecutive times.
U-17 coach Abbas Chamanian says Iran’s rise is the result of a development structure. They have an extensive scouting programme complemented by a roadmap. They have set up a youth committee where senior national team coach Queiroz, his assistant Markar Aghajanyan and Chamanian are three sides of the pyramid. While Chamanian looks after scouting and development of all age-group players till U-18, Aghajanyan works with players from 18 years to 22 before they go to the senior team under Queiroz.
Chamanian feels India should also start with scouting and drawing a roadmap. Competitive football from a young age will instil self-belief in players. “India should start with the basics and go step by step, like we've done in recent years. We formed a youth committee with development in mind. India can look after these kids till their development is complete. It’s a step by step process,” he said.
This Iran lot has witnessed the India U-17 team’s progress. The then India U-16 team lost to them on both occasions they met – 0-3 in the AFC U-16 Championship and 0-1 in the Valentin Granatkin Memorial Cup. But India’s performance in the second impressed Chamanian. He feels despite a lot of talent, the India U-17 squad lacks self-belief and winning mentality.
“When we played India in the AFC U-16 Championship and in the Granatkin Cup, we saw a lot of talented players. Now they are even better. But what they lacked was self-belief. They have to have the winning mentality to produce results. Once they have that mentality, they will be at par with any good Asian team.” With Iran’s impressive performance in the tournament so far, Chamanian says he has spoken to football federation president Mehdi Taj, who was in Goa for a day, to continue developing this bunch for the U-20 World Cup.
“I’ve spoken to the president at great length about keeping this team together for the U-20 World Cup. It’s important for their development as a team to stick together. India should do that too. That’s how the development begins,” Chamanian said.