Stephen Constantine : Qatar’s youth policies can help Indian football

Qatar’s sense of duty regarding youth development can help India develop its own generation of talented players, according to India national team coach Stephen Constantine. The 54-year-old Englishman, who has been overseeing the nation’s U-23 side in Qatar during 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifying, told that the expertise of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) and Aspire Academy could help the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as it continues to priorities youth development.

Indian football has focused on youth development in recent years and the Blue Tigers have risen from 173rd to 96th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking since Constantine took the reins for a second time in 2015. In addition to managing the current crop of Indian talent, Constantine is keen to find out whether youthful expatriates in Qatar could make their mark in the national team.

“QFA’s policies led to Qatar winning an Asian U-19 title and Aspire have been pioneers in talent scouting in the Middle East and Africa,” said Constantine. He also added that their current tie-up with Indian Super League club Delhi Dynamos is a step in the right direction and should it function well, the next step could be for the QFA and AIFF to broaden the scope of the partnership.

He additionally said that the QFA and Aspire will have valuable knowledge to share in the fields of scouting, coach education, youth academy, nutrition and sports medicine. The icing on the cake is that they are part of the larger Asian football family. According to him talented Indian youngsters living in Doha could well be incorporated into the official Indian football structure thanks to the AIFF’s overseas talent scouting programme, which was launched with an eye to identify talent for the FIFA U-17 World Cup which India will be hosting in October.

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