Goa football association secretary criticises Churchill Brothers’ Odafe dealMay 2nd, 2009 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, May 2 (IANS) I-League champions Churchill Brothers’ record eight-figure pay package to retain their star Nigerian striker has been criticised by Goa Football Association (GFA) secretary Savio Messias.
“No one pays attention to talent development here. No one is interested in grooming youngsters. Club owners are just interested in grabbing foreigners playing for other clubs. It’s a fashion to pay hefty amounts,” Messias told IANS Saturday.
Messias, whose rivalry with Churchill Brothers supremo and GFA president Joaquim Alemao is a legend in Goa football, said that few clubs focus on talent development and instead are obsessed with foreign players, most of whom are “useless”.
Churchill Brother’s star striker Odafe was retained by the club for a whopping fee of $200,259, making it one of the most expensive deals in the history of Indian football.
“50 percent of the foreigners who play in the I-league, barring those like Ranty (Martin), Barretto, Beto and Odafe, are useless. These big clubs rarely even scout for foreign talent, preferring to poach those few who play in India,” Messias said, adding that football clubs in Belgium or Portugal would not match bids made by Churchill to retain a player like Odafe.
Messias also said the football culture in Goa needed a drastic makeover, if they were to challenge the might of the African players, who have made it big in local clubs here.
“Goan players are lazy. They do not put in that extra effort, unlike the foreign players, who practise harder and hit the gym on their own volition and time,” he said.
Mohammedan Sporting coach Shabbir Ali concurred with Messias.
“The foreign players are popular because of the performance they put in,” he said, adding that in most cases, the foreign players were not renowned back in the countries they hail from.
Ali said that he was responsible for introducing Chima Okeri back in 1985, before the Nigerian born striker became a household name in Indian football.
“One of the first big foreign footballers to have played in India was Iranian world cupper Majid Baskar, who played for East Bengal in the 1980s,” Ali said, adding that Baskar, along with another fellow Iranian Jamshed Nassiri served as idols for an entire generation of footballers in Bengal.
Churchill Brothers’ president Alemao said that what the Iranians did to football in Kolkata, the African players would trigger in Goa.
“They are like role models. A lot of Goan players learn from these Africans the finer nuances of technique, skill and fitness,” he said.
“The league has now become all the more interesting with the added blend of African football,” Joaquim said.
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Tags: alemao, association secretary, beto, churchill brothers, football association, football clubs in belgium, football culture, foreigners, gfa, goa, indian football, joaquim, league champions, local clubs, martin barretto, panaji, rivalry, savio, star striker, volition