DOHA: Former Indian national team captain and current assistant coach of the Indian senior football side Shanmugam Venkatesh has said that the Blue Tigers have changed their outlook towards the game.
Venkatesh has tracked down the pathway for evolution highlighting the difference in squads, club football vs international football, approach of the current batch while backing it with data analytics and much-needed improvisation at the club coaching level.
"It has evolved a lot. There's always a pathway for evolution. Looking at the international calendar, there are three stages of the preparatory process - unofficial friendly matches, international friendlies, and then the official qualifiers and tournaments. As these are different stages of preparation, the process of selection and approach also stay different," Venkatesh told aiff.com.
"It's about the squad which you select. You need to understand that International football is entirely different from club football. In club football you get two matches every 10 days which allows you to look at every player who has been performing well and improve within a short span. The FIFA window is written in stone - March, June, September, October and November, and then there are unofficial matches. In unofficial matches and exposure games, the aim is to try out as many young and new players as possible. Unless you try, you won't get to know. You have to give a chance to the deserving youngsters to see how they react and gauge their decision-making. After all of that, you move to the Qualifiers and the tournaments wherein there can't be any compromise," he added.
Talking about the club and international football, Venkatesh said: "There can be no comparison whatsoever. The intensity, tempo, ball time in international football is ruthless -- ask any debutant who has had a taste of international football. Let me tell you a basic - at the international level, even before you get the ball there are already two players who have pressed you. The pressure is immense and you need to make decisions under pressure. There is very little time to react -- in fact, no time. Only the best who have been filtered in the process, thrive here. There are so many examples."
Earlier this week, Sunil Chhetri had added another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Argentine striker Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer. He achieved the feat when he struck a brace to help India defeat Bangladesh 2-0 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at Al Sadd Club in Doha.