Rob Baan has taken charge as the Technical Director of the AIFF. Mr. Baan talks about his role, plans, challenges and much more.
Q) What made you take up the Challenge of being the Technical Director of India?
I’m still too young to sit on the couch and the challenge of bringing the overall standard of Indian football to a higher level prompted me to travel to India.
Q) Did you have any prior idea about Indian football — at the Club or National Level?
Not really till recently when I was invited by the Qatar Football Association to make a report and watched Qatar’s Olympic Qualifi¬cation match against India U-23 in Doha in July.
Q) What will be your prime task as the Technical Director of Indian football and what will be the key areas that you will look into for the development of the game — especially at the grassroots?
We will start with establishing of the Regional Academies (for age-group 14 to 16) and Elite Centers (for Age-group 16-18) where we can bring the best talents together. With our Technical Staff, we will travel around and get a ¬first-hand impression about Indian football at all levels. After that we will focus on grassroot and organise and establish a pathway for our talents.
Q) How di¬fferent will the challenge be from your Australian experience?
It’ll be a big difference for simple reason that Australia stay far ahead of India in terms of infrastructure, facilities, organization and vision. They have also started with a Masterplan, a Curriculum and the National Youth Development Plan. During my time at the FFA we started with the implementation of small-sided games all over the country; a structured talent identi¬fication plan and the vision of how to play and train. The FFA also did start a National Youth League and a National Women’s League along with the National Coach Education Plan.
Q) Will be you holding regular meetings with the coaches and officials of the respective I-League clubs?
I will co-ordinate mainly with the Coaches. I will also be co-ordinating with the General Secretary of the AIFF and other staff and maybe, club officials as and when necessary.
Q) How confident are you of making a significant change?
AIFF has now started a vision which will improve the rankings in the next 4 years. The focus is now on Youth Development. Within the next 10 years, boys from the age-group of 8-12 will take India to a level where India will be able to compete against Australia, Korea or Japan.