Lack of youth development at the grass root level has hindered India's progress in football. It is one of the main reasons for the humiliating defeats against Oman and Japan in the last two World Cup qualifying round matches, India's chief coach Stephen Constantine said on Monday.
"I take the blame for India's 5-1 and 7-0 defeats against Oman and Japan, but will not accept moral responsibility as Japan is far ahead of us in terms of skill," Constantine told news persons in Margao, Goa.
India, who had won against Japan in 1981, have not progressed at any level, especially at the grass roots, while Japan has developed on all fronts which saw them play in the 2002 World Cup, he said.
Even countries like Bahrain and Kuwait have taken the grass root level development seriously and made tremendous progress, Constantine said, adding, "unless we in India take seriously developing the game at the grass root level our football will remain the same, while smaller countries will progress".
"In India we find players, but do not make players. Unless and until we groom players at the grass root level India's standard in football will remain the same. So, it is the responsibility of football clubs to make players if Indian football has to rise," stated Constantine.
On demands for his resignation as national coach after the thrashing from Japan, Constantine said Japan is far ahead of us. It will take 10 years for India to come to the standard of Japan."
Asked about senior coaches Amal Datta and Bimal Ghosh's demand for his resignation, Constantine retorted by saying, "What has been their contribution in making reputed footballers?"