Constantine backtracks after criticising U-17 WC performance

Stephen Constantine issued a statement to clarify his comments on the U-17 team's performance at the World Cup.

Stephen Constantine press conference in New Delhi

Stephen Constantine criticised the performance of the U-17 World Cup team during a press conference in New Delhi.   -  PTI

Indian football national team coach Stephen Constantine said that his comments on the U-17 World Cup team's performance were misinterpreted and issued a statement clarifying his stance.

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Constantine said, “The question was put to me with regards to the goalkeeper Dheeraj (Singh) who has not played for the last six months due to no fault of his. 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 I-League. The result in the World Cup and I-League is irrelevant. Although, they finished last in the 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 in an AIFF press release.

“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 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.


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