Arsene Wenger to help ‘sleeping giant’ India develop football talent


Arsene Wenger, a former manager of Arsenal, will assist India in fostering football potential as the country’s national federation works to change its “brand and philosophy,” the organization announced on Saturday.

India, long referred to as a “sleeping giant” of football by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, is currently ranked 106th in the world and struggles to garner support in the nation that is fixated on cricket. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has had governance problems, and FIFA, the organization that oversees football, temporarily suspended it last year.

Fresh elections were held in September, and now, with the assistance of 73-year-old Frenchman Wenger, the AIFF is aiming for significant changes. For the national squad, “we will have a data-driven scouting mechanism in place,” secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran said to reporters on Saturday. “We will collaborate with FIFA on this project, and Arsene Wenger will personally devote his time to it.”

Wenger now serves as the head of FIFA’s global football development department. Although AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey did not specifically mention Wenger’s participation in the talent development program, he did say that the initiative would be crucial to making India a football superpower by 2047, the year of the nation’s centennial. We won’t be selling dreams, he declared. We need to establish a solid basis and develop our own identity and ideology.

Since 2019, Igor Stimac, a Croatian, has led India’s coaching staff. Both the 2017 Under-17 World Cup and the 2018 Women’s World Cup were held in India.

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