A lot of good things appear to be happening in Indian football these days.
Arsenal’s legendary coach Arsene Wenger, the FIFA’s chief of global football development, was in the country recently to guide the national body AIFF, the AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy was opened in Odisha, India beat Kuwait for its first away win in 22 years in a World Cup qualifier and there was even talk from the national federation that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology, that could make referees life easier for referees, could be in place in the ISL in 2025-26.
The progress appears to be good but should the pace of progress be faster?
“Yes, absolutely. I saw the information that the VAR technology will arrive in two and a half years, so it means two and half years more of suffering, frustration and hoping that the improvement will be there,” said Ivan Vukomanovic, the Kerala Blasters head coach in reply to a question from The Sportstar on Friday, on the eve of Saturday’s ISL match against Hyderabad FC at the Nehru Stadium here.
“But I can see that these technologies are already present worldwide in football for more than six, seven years. May be it should be faster but again it’s not up to us, it’s about the federation, how it wants to attract and improve things to achieve a certain level with us. It’s okay, let’s follow that path. You know, two and half years, who knows what can happen in two and half years...nobody knows.
“And again that’s a promise that was made last year, a promise that the VAR will be in this year. That’s not the case, so we have to deal with it when the time comes, till then we will try to do our best.”
While the Blasters are in the second rung in the 12-team table with 13 points, former champion Hyderabad is near the bottom (11th spot, 3 points) and without a win so far from six games.
But Vukomanic made it clear that it would be dangerous to be complacent.
“That’s the biggest trap in professional sport. If you start thinking about the situation your opponent is now in, then you are in trouble so we have to be focused. It is a good team... the last two years every time we were facing Hyderabad it was a tough game, it was difficult,” said the Serb.
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