U-17 2017 World Cup in India

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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by prasen9 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:33 pm

The bottom-line is that we are not world-class. No amount of preparation in the short-term can make this team as such.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by jayakris » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:21 pm

PKBasu wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:27 pm
0-3 is the worst defeat that any team has suffered in the tournament so far. It seems the hasty preparations haven't quite succeeded in making the under-17 side competitive. Let's hope we manage to tie at least one of the next two matches.
No PKB, the preparations weren't hasty as far as the team was concerned. They had been together for 2 years and have played a truckload of matches around the world against many good teams. And that showed. They acted like they belonged there, and I think they did. They showed very good composure all through, and did not show any "deer in the headlights" attitude or anything. About as well-coached and prepared as I could have expected them to be.

But lack of top talent is lack of top talent! The basic problem is something else, which is that these kids have played 1/5th the number of hours of football that the US kids had played from age 8 till age 14 and the US team is made of the best players out of 50 times the number of kids from which India scouted these players 2+ years ago. There is only so much we could do, starting so far behind the 8 ball. But we managed to do it well, in my opinion.

There was no confused looks on what the Indian team was trying to do. They were just not as big, strong, and talented as the US team, which is pretty damn good this time, from what I read - and is probably semifinal quality at this event. The US players were about 30% heavier and 5 inch taller on average. The biggest issue I noticed was that at times our players seemed to not anticipate the quickness of the US players on some of our passes that got intercepted. Many of our players don't have great legs for longer passes as well. Otherwise they were playing to a plan and not panicking at all at any point. Even at the goal mouth, at both ends, our players seemed to be trying to do what top teams do around the world (unlike what I often saw from our senior team earlier, though I haven't seen them in the current unbeaten streak). They just could not get past the steady and well-coached US team. Though not tall, we seemed to also handle the aerial balls that USA is always great at. The goalie was good and KP Rahul looked very talented to me (of course I am biased as a Malayalee)

Our team almost did what I asked for - which was to go 30 minutes without allowing a goal and then hope for some breaks to go our way. But in the 30th minute, a touch foul and a dive (that too after a very nice defensive play to dispossess the US guy) gave USA a PK and it was going to be tough from then on. We played better in the second half and it could have ended easily at 1-2 as some good work on offense ended up bouncing off the cross-bar and US got a cheap counter-goal. We did have over 40% time of possession too.

The US commentators on Fox channel did not have anything bad to say about our team or our attitude or preparation. Only good comments. They kept talking late in the second half when India made quite a few moves that USA should watch out and not fall asleep. They just felt USA was just a much stronger team of players, that is all.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by jayakris » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:46 pm

Also, I felt that we were a little slow in reacting to developments in space. We showed speed to catch up very often but sometimes we couln't. Those instincts in space come from years of play against organized teams in youth leagues etc. Our instincts and skills are quite good near the ball though - which also I expected. We have really scouted players who have ball skills.

The root problem we have in Indian football remains the same, but will hopefully improve over the next decade when more 8 and 9 year old kids play football non-stop (2 hours a day for at least 3 days a week). That requires less of street cricket :) ... There are enough kids for both sports in India. Football needs to make its mark among kids.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by Varma » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:03 pm

Missed watching the match. I will try have to catch up somewhere on YouTube. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine reading such a positive and upbeat report of a football match involving India within my lifetime.
jayakris wrote:But lack of top talent is lack of top talent! The basic problem is something else, which is that these kids have played 1/5th the number of hours of football that the US kids had played from age 8 till age 14 and the US team is made of the best players out of 50 times the number of kids from which India scouted these players 2+ years ago. There is only so much we could do, starting so far behind the 8 ball.
jayakris wrote:The root problem we have in Indian football remains the same, but will hopefully improve over the next decade when more 8 and 9 year old kids play football non-stop (2 hours a day for at least 3 days a week). That requires less of street cricket :) ... There are enough kids for both sports in India. Football needs to make its mark among kids.
You are so damn right, Jay!

- Varma



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by Abish arul » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:03 pm

That guy komal looks like a real deal pretty impressed by him.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by Sin Hombre » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:02 am

Agree with Jay. This team is as well prepared as it can be with ~100 matches played in the last few years from what I read.

The parallel we should draw is with NZ in the late 90s.

NZ played in the 97 u17 world cup and lost 0-4, 0-5 and 0-13 and then hosted the 99 u17 world cup where they even won one match (and losing twice).

Those 2 tournaments laid the foundations of NZ qualifying to the 2010 WC (more than a decade later) by the usual combination of increased exposure (both in terms of local interest but also for the younger players coming through to stronger teams and foreign scouts) and investment in facilities and coaching.

India also wants to host the 2019 u20 world cup which is a great idea and would mean continuity of the u17 program.

We are not going to suddenly develop top-4 league starting quality players anytime soon (leave alone world-class ones, the US hasn't managed that yet despite decades of investment); the objective is to develop 3-4 second division level players in the next decade. Add some of the PIOs on top and we would have an outside chance of qualifying to the expanded 48-team WC.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by jayakris » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:54 am

Abish arul wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:03 pm
That guy komal looks like a real deal pretty impressed by him.
Yes, he is super-talented and super-skilled. Considered to be the most talnted kid in the team, and it really looked so. He can juke anybody, it seems [see this youtube video of him becoming the first Indian to ever score a goal against Brazil at any level!]. My only concern is that he is too small. Hope he he is still growing, at age 17. If he can become an inch or two taller and a little stronger without losing his speed, he could be something special. The legs must become stronger, but that is an issue with most of the guys in the team.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by PKBasu » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:46 am

Jay, thanks for your detailed comments which paint a vivid image of the Indian team's performances -- warts and all -- especially for someone like me who didn't get to watch the match.

FIFA's commitment to India is nice to see, and it will be great if we also get to host the under-20 World Cup in 2020. And it is heartening that we came so close to a 1-2 result. The reality is that it was 0-3, and we'll need a bit of luck in the matches against Ghana and Colombia.

A great effort has been put in over three years and the Komal goal against Brazil was quite breathtaking. Abhijit Sarkar is supposed to be another good forward. And the goalie seems good (having kept the Canadian Dhaliwal on the bench...). Interesting that the recruits from the US and Canada didn't make the starting XI yesterday, from what I can make out.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by Prashant » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:05 am

Sin Hombre wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:02 am
The parallel we should draw is with NZ in the late 90s.
That parallel misses one important thing. NZ soccer made a concentrated effort to get as many of those promising kids as possible into US College soccer. The team that made the WC had a core of 8-10 NCAA veterans that had parlayed college success into club careers They even got coaches into the NCAA, I think Stanford had a Kiwi coach thru much if the 1990s.

Not sure anyone in India is planning for the next few years of these kids' careers.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by Sin Hombre » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:58 am

Prashant wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:05 am
Sin Hombre wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:02 am
The parallel we should draw is with NZ in the late 90s.
That parallel misses one important thing. NZ soccer made a concentrated effort to get as many of those promising kids as possible into US College soccer. The team that made the WC had a core of 8-10 NCAA veterans that had parlayed college success into club careers They even got coaches into the NCAA, I think Stanford had a Kiwi coach thru much if the 1990s.

Not sure anyone in India is planning for the next few years of these kids' careers.
Which is why it is important for us to get the 2019 (or even 2021) u20 WC which would mean continuity in their career development for at least another 2 years (and continued FIFA involvement in grassroots initiatives).

As a nation, we haven't had much success in developing a sporting structure organically so this is probably the best option for us.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by prasen9 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:00 am

While it is better than nothing, a few stadia at a few cities will not cut it. The events will generate interest though and that may encourage a lot more kids to play the game. We need more organized grass-roots football on the lines of what Jay has been talking about. It's just the number of hours, playing better and better competition, improved fitness and nutrition. If we cannot provide that, we should send the kids to colleges in the US, etc.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by Sin Hombre » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:32 am

We are not a country that develops sporting infrastructure organically. The only examples we have are the domestic cricket structure (where only in the last decade have we gotten to a professional level) and badminton under Gopi.

Having one set of core players get a lot of exposure and coaching against decent opponents (as the u17s have done over the last 2 years) while simultaneously developing infrastructure and interest at the same time.

Sending kids to college hasn't helped American soccer to take the next step so not sure if that is the right step for us. Football, more than most sports, is about thousands of hours of coaching and free practice from a very young age.

I think what Bengaluru FC is doing is the right approach for India - a proper youth academy with teams from u11 up with a professional team at the top.

I just noticed that Kerala Blasters have Meulensteen as the coach, he has serious pedigree as a skills developer and I hope Jay's team uses him well.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by jayakris » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:43 pm

Yeah, I am not that worried about this group of 17 year olds progressing from here on out, because ISL teams seem to be keeping an eye on most of the top u-23 players right now (most are on some team or other). There is still not enough scouting and training of players below age 15-16 by anybody because we have no organized u12 and u15 leagues. ISL is still in their growing phase but for the time being it looks like they are better than anything we have had in the past. Many young players have gone on record (including those like Jeje in the national team) that ISL coaching/training by foreigners are helping them a lot.

But the problem still remains in the age 8-14 ages. We need to have some organic growth there, which can start only from some hype among kids. If we get the u20 world cup, we can keep the hype going for a while, along with the senior team staying in the news without big embarrassments for a year or two also (hopefully longer). Even 3 years of hype among little kids can go a long way. We need a lot more kids to play the game. I had done my personal survey of how bad it was in Kerala during a day 450km train journey a few years ago when I counted the number of kids' football games and the number of cricket games (the numbers weren't pretty - not even close). I am planning to do another train journey next March just for this purpose. Will report if the hype is helping. I think the Blasters' hype in Kochi will really help motivate some Kerala kids to take to the game, like they used to, before Kapil Dev's catch of Richards in 1983.

We need small kids (8 to 12 years age) in Kerala, Punjab and Bengal to play a lot more. I have not been a subscriber of the idea of building a national team by just focusing on the Northeast. It has been helpful but has clearly shown its limitations too. The good news is probably something Sameer mentioned a while ago, that city kids like say in Mumbai, seem to be lot more aware of world sports these days (from watching EPL all the time on cable TV) and are not into just cricket like they used to be. That is probably a phenomenon in the last decade or so. It is so much easier for some youth leagues to develop across school grounds in cities/towns rather than in villages. We may actually start seeing city kids come through in the next decade or so, in which case we don't need to hope for just Punjab, Kerala, Bengal and Manipur/Mizoram/HP as the catchment areas. In any case, I am more hopeful of where we could be in 10-15 years than I was even 3 or 4 years ago.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by jayakris » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:04 pm

Sin Hombre wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:32 am
Sending kids to college hasn't helped American soccer to take the next step so not sure if that is the right step for us. Football, more than most sports, is about thousands of hours of coaching and free practice from a very young age.
True, but USA's "next step" is about moving from FIFA top-30 to top-10. For that, US college soccer doesn't help. It doesn't help even for a move from top-60 to top-30. Quite different than our attempt to move from top-120 to top-60. For that, even college football coaching would really help. I hope a few 18 year olds who are not among the top-20 in India (and already under various ISL and ILeague team organizations) would consider the US college route. Not easy though, as US college coaches do not have resources to scout them. Maybe somebody can put together a camp or something and invite a few US coaches to come and check players out. Perhaps 2 or 3 good players a year can get a chance then to spend 3 or 4 years in the US and come back as better players by age 22.



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Re: U-17 2017 World Cup in India

Post by jayakris » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:10 pm

So, have anybody tried the SonyLIV.com website for a live stream? I need to watch the India-Columbia game tomorrow. It is supposed to be on live TV at SonyTen2 (English) and SonyTen3(Hindi) in India, and on SonyLIV.com for streaming. I just registered at SonyLIV.com. Seems to be free. I can actually see the Pakistan-SriLanka cricket test going on right now. So it works. But they have no indication of any world cup games. Can some of you try also and see if I am missing something?

Jay



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