Bedia: India is a future powerhouse in world football but loads of work and patience needed
The Indian national team under Igor Stimac recently played two international friendlies in Dubai. In the first match against Oman last week, the Blue Tigers came up with a commendable performance as they earned a 1-1 draw thanks to a Manvir Singh header in the 55th minute but in the second game against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this week they fell by the wayside and succumbed to a 6-0 defeat, leading to heavy criticism from home fans.
However, FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia feels the defeat gives a great opportunity to Indian football to look within and intensify measures that could help players realise their full potential.
“In the last four years I have been asked many times about how big a difference there is between Indian football and European football. And how the level of Indian football could be improved.
“I have always answered the same thing and I think after what I saw yesterday, many people will agree,” Bedia wrote in his post on Instagram on Tuesday.
The midfielder went on: “The India game was a hard blow of reality for Indian football. I think the Indian coach is doing a fantastic job to improve the young players by giving them opportunities with the national team [as many as 10 players debuted for India against Oman in the first game].
“However, the reality is that the 80th team in the FIFA ranking is a level above India, and what matters less is the result and what should hurt the most is seeing the feeling of superiority in all aspects of the game from the UAE – be it technical quality, tactics or space control etc., etc.
“Journalists have asked me so many times when we can see India in a World Cup. But that cannot be the question India should be asking just right now. For that dream to realise, there need to be years spent on working in academies and investing in grassroots and youth level.
“There is talk that it would be good to nationalise a foreign player to raise the level of the national team but we must look more towards the long-term. It would be more efficient and wiser to invest in coaches and infrastructure in the lower levels. And in a few years, the growth and improvement in Indian football will be there for all to see.
“I really think that India is a future powerhouse in world football. That though will need loads of work and patience.”
Under 32-year-old Bedia's captaincy in the recently concluded Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), the Gaurs made their sixth semis appearance before losing to eventual champions Mumbai City FC on penalties.