Federation Cup format should be like English FA Cup: Mahindra coach

By Abhishek Roy, IANS

Ludhiana : The format of the Federation Cup should be made along the lines of the FA Cup in England, said Mahindra United coach Derek Pereira, a day after his team made it to the final of the 29th edition of this knock-out tournament, here Thursday.

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“The Federation Cup is the most glamorous event in the country. But I think if the format is changed on the lines of the FA Cup, it will help to raise the standard of the game in the country,” said a relaxed Pereira.

For the second time in three years, the Mumbai outfit entered the final of the Federation Cup and will face Kolkata giants East Bengal in the final Saturday. Mahindra has won the title in 2005 and 2003.

The FA Cup, which is the oldest football tournament in the world, is also a knock-out tournament but involves more clubs and is played through out the season, as compared to the Federation Cup.

“Like the FA Cup, more teams from the second division of the national league should be given chance to participate in the Federation Cup. We have lot of talents in the country and I think this tournament should be a platform for them to showcase their talents,” said Pereira.

The 29th edition of the Federation Cup involved 16 teams, including six teams from the second division during a span of 12 days.

“The Federation Cup lasts for only 12 days but it would have been better if it was played over the season. This tournament will throw us talents like P.C. Lalawmpuia (Mohun Bagan) and Robert Lalthlamvana (Churchill Brothers),” said the Mahindra coach.

Pereira also added the standard of game in the Federation Cup has gone down as the base of the football in the country is not wide.

“We have to broaden the base of the game in India. We have to look beyond states like West Bengal, Goa and Kerala and every state should have its own academy.

“The country can have good players only from good coaching. Skills can be developed in a player only in his formative years and for that we need sound youth development programmes at the grass root level,” said Pereira.

The former India defender also added that there should be programmes to educate the coaches in the country.

“We should have courses in the language in which the coach is comfortable. It is very necessary for the coach to upgrade himself with the changing patterns of the game,” he said.