De Matos can continue as coach if he wants: AIFF chief Patel

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By Philem Dipak Singh

India U-17 and U-19 football teams head coach Luis Norton de Matos

Kolkata, Oct 26 (PTI) India U-17 and U-19 football teams head coach Luis Norton de Matos can continue with his job if he wants, All India Football Federation President Praful Patel said today.

Portuguese de Matos was at the helm of affairs of the Indian side that played in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and he is currently with the national U-19 team that will take part in the AFC U-19 Championships qualifiers in Saudi Arabia next month.

“De Matos has done a great job for the Indian team. I have complimented him. His contract is till the end of this world Cup. He is with the U-19 team. We will talk about this (extension of contract). If he is ready, India has a big heart to accept him,” Patel said at the FIFA U-17 World Cup wrap-up press conference.

Patel said the sacking of Nicolai Adam as the India U-17 team coach early this year to be replaced by de Matos was a necessity under the circumstances.

“We had to change the coach. I am not saying that the past coach (Nicolai) was not up to mark. Both the coaches did a fine job. The day you find the players unhappy, there is no point continuing with the coach. You cannot have a disconnect with the coach and players. It would have been a disaster (to continue with Nicolai),” said the AIFF chief, explaining why the AIFF had to sack Nicolai.

Asked about de Matos’ opinion that there was a big gap between the Indians and players of other countries, Patel said, “Indian football is very complex. It is a huge country and the issues are really complex and the AIFF alone cannot take Indian football forward. There is responsibility of state associations, efforts to be made at the district level etc.

So, mere giving of suggestion will not do.

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