Coach Medeira conveys home truths to AIFF

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) India coach Savio Medeira has conveyed a few home truths to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in his inimitable manner ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Bayern Munich. While welcoming a public farewell for Bhaichung Bhutia he lamented the way some other true greats faded away unsung.

Talking of Bhutia’s farewell game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium against the Bavarians, Medeira wondered what benefit playing a top European club like Bayern would have on the Indian players. He stopped short of saying games like these could only be demoralising for the young Indian footballers, though he was quick to add that he hoped the boys would be be better off for the experience.

Bhaichung, who retired two months ago, will be out on the turf in India colours one last time. A striking farewell for a striker who his teammates believe is ‘irreplaceable.’

‘It is a great gesture by the federation to give a grand farewell to Bhaichung, who has done a lot for Indian football. But there were several former greats as well, who deserved a similar send-off,’ he said.

Medeira hoped his boys would be able to avoid an embarrassing scoreline Tuesday at a venue where they lifted the SAFF Cup last month.

Bayern, who are training in Doha, crushed Qatar’s second tier outfit SC Al-Sailiya 13-0 during a warmup game last week.

‘Everybody knows about Bayern’s form and they had a big win last week. I can only hope for the best. We cannot afford to commit any mistake against them and if we do we would be punished hard,’ said Medeira, after the team’s training session at the Ambedkar Stadium.

Mediera admitted that India are not prepared to play Bayern Munich.

‘We are nowhere near the fitness levels of the European teams. It would take another two year of intense training for our boys to reach the desired level of fitness required to play top European clubs. All the same, it is a life time opportunity for the boys and hopefully it will be a great learning experience for them as well,’ he said.

Asked about Bhutia’s fitness, Medeira put it diplomatically: ‘He looks like what he looked last year when he left the national team.’

Medeira wants to use the game to prepare for the AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu from March 8-19. India, 2008 champions, have been clubbed with tough teams like 2010 World Cuppers North Korea, the Philippines and Tajikistan. The winner will earn direct entry for the 2015 Asian Cup finals in Australia.

‘This match will help me to try some young faces ahead of the AFC Challenge. I have asked for more international matches before the tournament and we may have the national camp in London or Dubai,’ said Medeira.

The Goan also said that he would want to try out as many players against Bayern and the substitution rules would be decided at Monday’s managers meeting.