Former India goalkeeper Subrata Pal feels there is no dearth of good strikers in the Indian football team, days ahead of their Kings Cup meet in Thailand under new coach Igor Stimac. “We have to work more at the grassroot level. We have to spot good talents when they are young, and groom them,” Pal told IANS. India will be without the services of Jeje Lalpekhlua in the Kings Cup as he is nursing a knee injury. But the likes of Balwant Singh, Joby Justin, who has been called up, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh and Sumeet Passi do provide many options besides skipper Sunil Chhetri, said Pal.
“Sunil will be there for a few more years and Jeje is also young. We can also count on Balwant. So for the coming four to five years we can count on these boys,” he said. “There are two-three good strikers in the Indian Arrows team that took part in this year’s I-league. One of them is Rahul KP who is very promising,” Pal said. “Sunil took time to become Sunil Chhetri. Same with Bhaichung or Jeje for that matter. You have to give them time,” he added.
Asked if the Indian Super League and I-League clubs should not depend on foreign strikers so much and give more Indians a chance, Paul said: “Clubs are spending so much money, hence they want to win tournaments. I will not say they are at fault. But what I will say is that we have to give Indian strikers more opportunities,” Pal emphasised.