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India needs a structured programme: Rufer

Principal Correspondent
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Wynton Rufer imparting some skills to some Indian kids of YMCA football camp in New Delhi.— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.
Wynton Rufer imparting some skills to some Indian kids of YMCA football camp in New Delhi.— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.

New Zealand footballer Wynton Rufer, who played many years for German club Werder Bremen, has said that India should adopt a well-structured programme to spot talents and nurture them.

Rufer, who launched a training programme involving 30 school kids at the German Embassy here, said the sport should be made popular at the grassroots level in order to make an impact.

“You have to have a structured programme for the kids and there should be something to inspire them (to play football),” said Rufer, who played the 1982 World Cup for New Zealand.

The Kiwi striker, chosen Oceania footballer of the century, did not agree with the theory that India needed more well-built players to give good results at the international level.

“How big is Messi? The development should start from the school level.

“Physique is an advantage but it is all about skill development.”

The 50-year-old said he was open to work in India and narrowly missed a chance to coach one of the Bengal teams in the proposed Premier League Soccer, which eventually failed to take off.

Rufer, on his second visit to India after 30 years, said he was keen on the initiative taken up by the German Embassy. “I am keen to come back and leave a legacy.”

German Ambassador Michael Steiner also favoured the programme.

“There is a growing interest for football among young people in India.

“In Germany, it is a mass sport. We are interested in fostering relationship with India,” said Steiner.

Around 100 kids will be trained by Rufer under the programme, which is being held with the help of YMCA.

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