Kolkata football coaches lament lack of infrastructure

Kolkata, Sep 15 (IANS) The coaches of city based I-League teams Thursday criticised the newly laid artificial grass at the Salt Lake Stadium and regretted that lack of football infrastructure in the country was retarding the growth of the game.

"I am really surprised. How can anyone lay such grass at an important stadium like that? Because of unfamiliarity with the pitch, the players are vulnerable to injuries. It is very unfortunate that there is no other ground in the city where high level matches can be played," said Nasir Ahemed, one of the coaches of the Mohammedan Sporting club.

East Bengal manager Sapan Bal also rued the lack of infrastructure and said the players often had to skip practice because of non-availability of grounds.

"Leave aside the clubs, even the All India Football Federation (AIFF) does not have a ground of its own, though they continue to control the games. But there is nothing to be done. Like bad roads and power failure, we are now accustomed to such things," said Bal.

Prayag United's coach Sanjay Sen said the turf at the Salt Lake Stadium was a cause of concern for him and the players.

"When it was being laid, we thought it would be good for the game. But it seems it has done more harm than good. Players often complain about injuries. But we have nothing to do. As a coach, it's my duty to take the team out and play - no matter what."

The coaches who addressed the media before the start of the main round of the Federation Cup Saturday conceded that the scheduling of the matches was physically taxing for the players.

The champion club of the Federation Cup gets a chance to compete in the continental level in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.




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