Indians should compete against different footballing cultures: Luis Garcia

Spain and Liverpool legend Luis Garcia believes that Indian football can reach global heights if the players get exposure to various leagues abroad and methodically nurture young talents and coaches.

Garcia, who was part of the ISL title-winning side Atletico de Kolkata in 2014, said giving the Indian footballers a chance to feature in foreign competitions will increase their knowledge bandwidth.

“It's very important because you're playing against a different style of football (abroad). If you have to wait until the latter stages of a tournament to compete against them, then it's only one or two matches, and they have to compete more often .

“I think it is important that the Indian (national) team travels during the year and tries to play friendly matches in Asia and beyond. The result doesn't matter, what matters is that you have the feeling that you are facing a different type of football. “Garcia, who played in 77 matches for Liverpool in the Premier League between 2004 and 2007, told PTI here on Saturday.

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

Celebrating the three decades of association between Carlsberg and Liverpool FC in India, Garcia said the young Indian footballers should be given the right kind of coaching to give them a solid foundation.

“You only play in India. Yes, in recent years there have been a lot of efforts to give the younger generations the tools. That is the only way you can have a competitive national team.”

“If you want to compete at the highest level and qualify for a World Cup, you have to give the young kids the opportunity to improve their football knowledge,” he said.

Garcia, who also played 25 games for Barcelona and 49 for Atletico Madrid in the La Liga as a winger, said Indian coaches too need to keep themselves updated with the latest trends in coaching.

“I think in the first two to 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 have to bring people along or make them learn to coach to the highest standards. I would like to say that this has happened. But there are many things that India can do to improve the standard of coaching.” he added.

Garcia hoped that many more Indian coaches will travel to Europe to immerse themselves in modern coaching.

“Hopefully in the coming years you will see a lot more (Indian) coaches coming to Europe or other places so they can learn things about coaching and then you can take that back to India.

“Then you try to combine it with your own methods so that players can easily follow it,” he signed off.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)