Ranked 163 by the FIFA, India is not shining in world football now, but it can change if children are encouraged to take up the game with an aim to participate at the highest level, says former Portugal star Anderson Luis de Souza, also known as Deco.
He said a beginning can be made by way of futsal — a variant of football played in a smaller field, indoors — which will help the children with their skills.
“I think first you need to give a chance to the children to play. That’s why futsal is so important. Futsal is important if you want to be a professional footballer. Futsal will help you a lot with skills. The key is to give opportunity to the children to perform, motivate them to play and show them how the game is played,” Deco said.
Deco, the former Chelsea and FC Barcelona star, who at the start of his career played futsal, pointed out that playing the five-a-side version would help youngsters learn the skills which they can later implement in football.
The 38-year-old, who has won the UEFA Champions League with two clubs — FC Porto in 2004 and FC Barcelona in 2006 — was roped in as a star player for the world’s first-ever multinational futsal league, Premier Futsal, which will be played in India across eight cities from July 15 to 24.
“It is amazing to play futsal. I started playing the game when I was seven. Premier Futsal has given me a great opportunity to make a comeback into the game and play it. I started with futsal and later played football. And now I can get back to futsal, so it feels great,” said the Brazil born-footballer who played for Portugal as attacking midfielder or central midfielder.
Premier Futsal is expected to see over 50 international players from 21 countries participate in this variant of football which is split into two halves of 20 minutes each.
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad and Goa are the eight Indian places which will have franchise outfits in the inaugural season.