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Rediff.com  » Sports » Indian football has progressed, but more work at grassroots needed: Spurs legend King

Indian football has progressed, but more work at grassroots needed: Spurs legend King

November 28, 2023 19:43 IST
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IMAGE: Spurs legend Ledley King attributed the growth of Indian football to ISL.

Former England and Tottenham Hotspur defender Ledley King on Tuesday said though Indian football has progressed extensively in the last few years, the country needed to spread the sport more effectively at the grassroots level to emerge a true global power.

King attributed the considerable growth of football here to the Indian Super League.

“We actually got a chance to go to an ISL game on Thursday to watch Bengaluru FC. We're looking forward to that and that will give us a bigger indication of where the ISL is at now.

 

“But I have been following the league. I have been in India about five years ago and the standard then and you compare the standard right now, it (standard) is much better,” King told media after Tottenham FC entered into a partnership with Bengaluru-based Kickstart FC.

The function was also attended by NA Harris, president of KSFA and vice-president of AIFF, Laxman Bhattarai, CEO and head coach of Kickstart FC and Shekar Rajan, chairman of Kickstart FC.

King said the idea behind such partnerships was to enable India to play at the World Cup one day, strengthening the core level of football.

“So, the idea would be for India one day to play the World Cup and that looks a long, long way from where we are right now. But you always have to do the first step, and this is where we are doing right now.

“It's a question of time when India are going to have a team in the World Cup,” said King, who is the Tottenham global ambassador.

Osvaldo Ardiles, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1978 and a Spurs legend, also insisted on the work to be done on the base level.

“You have to work at the bottom and work your way up, you know playing in schools on a regular basis.

“I don't know if that's something they do over here.

“Then, you know, improving the grassroots football clubs is key. We're here to make that difference right at the bottom that will, hopefully, in time make a difference at the top,” said Ardiles, who is also a Tottenham ambassador.

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