The Indian gaffer’s earlier comments on the Indian U-17 side provoked many throughout the country.
Reference to his media session on Sunday where National Coach Stephen Constantine spoke about the U-17 National Team that had participated in the recently concluded FIFA U17 World Cup in India, the National Coach has clarified that his comments have been misinterpreted by the media.
Speaking to the AIFF Media, he said: “The question was put to me with regards to the goalkeeper Dheeraj who has not played for the last 6 months due to no fault of his own. I would like to utilise this opportunity to state that my comments were misinterpreted and now I wish to put the record straight.”
“I believe that we all have a responsibility to help these young players progress and develop after what they have experienced from the World Cup and the Hero I-League. The result in the World Cup and Hero I-League is irrelevant. Although they finished last in the Hero I-League, the objective was to give the upcoming Indian players more game time and to play regularly in competitive games week in and week out,” he stated.
“I have always said that it’s not about winning but it is about the development in these age-groups. They would have learnt a great deal from the experiences gathered from both the Hero I-League and the U-17 World Cup which will help them going forward,” Constantine added.
“Four of these boys have already been selected in this U-23 camp based on what we have seen in the last season. Whether they make it to the final squad or not remains to be seen. But the important factor is that we are seeing the progression from the youngsters.”
“My humble request to the media and the major stakeholders is that we give the boys a chance to develop in their own time. We perhaps put too much pressure and expectancy at this early age and that can sometimes affect them,” Constantine clarified.