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Arsene Wenger stresses on grassroots development for development of Indian football

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Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s global chief of football development, believes that India needs ‘better identification of talent’.

On his maiden visit to the country, the former Arsenal gaffer inaugurated the AIFF-FIFA Academy in Bhubaneswar and is confident of the global body helping Indian football achieve its goals in the coming years.

“I am convinced that in India not everyone gets a chance. The second important part is – we are convinced that you have to put the best with the best together. When you play against good players, that’s a stimulation. We want to identify the talent, we want to, of course, put the best to the best,” he said.

Sharing the stage with AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey and the federation’s vice-president N.A. Haris, Wenger specified that the target is to provide quality coaching at the grassroots.

RELATED: Arsene Wenger looks to help India find its feet in football with AIFF-FIFA Academy

“You take three boys. One is born in Mumbai, for example. (The second) one is born in Sao Paulo. And (the third) one is born in Paris. (What) is, after one day, the difference between the three (in terms of football)?

“(What) is, after one year, a difference between the three? If after 15 years, (there) is a difference in the quality of the players, I would say yes, and if I ask you if after 20 years is there a difference between the quality of the three players? I would say yes (again). And that is only down, in our opinion — not because when you are (a) French you are better controlled, because you got the education that you needed to develop,” he said.

Wenger watched India’s World Cup qualifiers against Qatar, where the host nation lost 0-3, and the legendary coach believes that Qatar was the ‘deserving winner’.

While Wenger focused on education, Chaubey appealed to the stakeholders of Indian football to help the game grow at the grassroots.

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