The plans shall improvise the standards for both the men’s and women’s national teams.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) unveiled the Indian Football Strategic Roadmap on Saturday. The roadmap will cover the federation’s objectives and vision from the period of 25 years (2023-2047) in which they hope to help India take massive leaps forward into gaining a prominent position in the world football structure.

Among the most important things discussed in the roadmap is the AIFF’s plans for the Indian National Team. The federation has revealed a set of objectives for the improvement of both the Indian Men’s National Team as well as that of the Women’s National Team. Khel Now looks at the objectives detailed for the same.

Maximizing game-time for the players

The top-most target for the improvement of the national team players is by maximizing the game-time available for top Indian players at the domestic level. This involves increasing the number of matches the top players participate in every season.

Basically, this is a hint from the AIFF about wanting to expand the domestic scene fraternity. As many ISL coaches or even players have demanded, there are plans to increase the number of games an Indian player plays in.

Expansion of top level competitions

To do so, the top division will need to be expanded to have 18-20 teams – ensuring at least 34-38 league games. Moreover, tournaments like the Durand Cup and the Super Cup need to be prioritized, ensuring the players can play a lot of cup competitions and get increased game-time too.

There are also plans to build a competitive league system across the pyramid of Indian football. This is probably the biggest hint that the AIFF are soon planning to expand the ISL to a 20-team league, ensuring that the top division features all the best clubs across India and ultimately helps the national team players participate in the amount of games required to compete at a high level in the international scene.

Reduce use of foreigners across lower divisions

Some major changes are also planned for the lower divisions. The AIFF has announced that it aims to restrict the use of foreign players in the leagues below the I-League, ensuring that 3-4 foreign players cant play in the I-League second division or lower.

This is being done to groom more varied and talented Indian players across all positions of the field, encouraging the development of strikers and those in the attacking positions.

The AIFF also plans to modernize Indian football and help it get the kind of technological infrastructure which some of the top leagues already boast to have. There are plans to bring modern Sports Science and Technology into Indian Football.

Introduce Sports Scientists & Technology

That would mean bringing in more analysts and sports scientists, who can help players get fitter and better adapted to a longer season by giving them tips on nutrition and training schedules. There could even be the possibility of bringing in technological advancements like VAR to Indian football.

There are also plans on moving to a data-driven scouting system for players of all age groups. This would perhaps involve creating a computerized portal where the statistics and performance numbers of players are placed in by scouts or even coaches.

Also Read:

Apppointment of specialized coaches

There will also be a Full-time Sports Science team appointed as well as someone specializing in Recovery & Performance of the team. A Nutritionist and Sports Psychologist are also going to be appointed. These people are going to be part of the support staff, helping in the off-the-field work, improve the players’ diet and help in better recovery from games.

There is also going to be added focus on specialized coaching areas for both national teams. This could see appointments of coaches like a striker’s coach, a set-piece coach or midfielder coach brought in to help the different areas of the team.

Maximum utilization of FIFA windows

When it comes to improving the quality of the national team (s), the AIFF also strives for maximum utilization of the FIFA international windows. This is to provide more international exposure for the national team as well.

This basically hints at the AIFF planning to ensure the national team plays more games during the international breaks, going forward.

This hasn’t really been the case over the last few years, with the Indian National Men’s team often being reduced to friendly games against weak oppositions or just assembling a training camp during that period. There is also the case of ISL continuing during the international windows, nullifying the possibility of the national team getting together.

Some key objectives for the national teams.

Finally, the AIFF also plans to improve the preparation camp durations with greater focus on the competitive games. This would mean the players could get more days to train for international games, making them better prepared for the challenges.

There are also going to be new ‘clubbed mega camps’ used for the national teams using two or more age groups at least twice a year. This could see the Indian senior team and U-19 team players train together in camps, helping mingling and for the youngsters to get a better understanding on how to adapt to the senior level.

When it comes to the FIFA international camps, the AIFF plan to utilize every window for at least two of the three age groups. This would mean the senior national teams as well as at least one of the junior teams play friendly or competitive games in these windows.

Resumption of tournaments in international windows

There are also plans to revive the Gold Cup or Intercontinental Cup every year for the national team. But three new venues are going to be utilized for that. This means rather than such competitions only happening in Mumbai or Goa, places like Kolkata, Kochi or even Bhubaneswar can host them.

Redefine playing style

The AIFF’s roadmap also speaks about plans to redefine the national team’s style of play ‘according to the National Football Philosophy’. There has been a lot of critisim towards the Indian national team for their regressive, defensive style. The AIFF obviously wants that changed and a switch to a more exciting, attacking brand of football in the long-term.

In terms of the FIFA rankings, the AIFF is planning for the Indian Women’s National Team to achieve a top-6 status in Asia by 2027 and top-10 in Asia for the Indian Men’s National team in the next five years.

Rank for national team by 2027

The Blue Tigers are currently ranked 19th in the FIFA Rankings AFC part. The Blue Tigresses are 12th in their respective pool. It’ll take for both teams to be consistent in winning games and tournaments to achieve this objective by 2027.

Strengthen Player Development Pathways through 2027

For the improvement of the national team in the long-run, the AIFF also plans to strengthen the Player Pathways through the state levels. There are also plans on creating stronger talent hubs across the country to improve the quality of the footballers.

Basically, this means plans are being made to possibly create more academies and national football academies of excellence in different states. Such infrastructure will encourage more players into Indian football and ultimately result in the improvement of their overall quality.

More power to clubs for player development

The AIFF also plans on giving the clubs power to take centre stage in elite player development. This means the major clubs across all levels will be given responsibilities for providing elite training facilities to the national team players and best possible training to make them ready for challenging international games.

Target and Vision

Finally, the AIFF has also outlined its targets and visions for the future. For the Targets 2026 area, qualification for the FIFA U-17 World Cup for both Men’s and Women’s Teams are planned before that. For Women’s football, the target is to be in top-8 in Asia by 2026 and top-10 in Asia for the Men’s team (FIFA Rankings). The ultimate vision for both teams for 2047 is to be among the top-4 teams in the AFC.

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and join our community on Telegram.