Former captain and current assistant coach of the Indian men’s football team Venkatesh Shanmugam has lauded the “contribution of sports science in helping current players improve their knowledge”.
In a live chat with AIFF TV, Venkatesh lamented the lack of proper grooming of players off the field during the early days of his career.
“There was no sports science back then which is why we weren’t so strict with our diet. We only got physios and doctors after 2000, and then began to learn what we need to do to improve our game,” said Venkatesh.
“The off-field knowledge of professional players back then was lacking. Of course on the pitch, they were all great. Players like Bhaichung (Bhutia) and (IM) Vijayan come once in a lifetime.
“But if you look at the current crop right now, you will understand that they have more knowledge of how to handle things, take care of their body in the off-season, put emphasis on diet,” he averred.
Venkatesh, who also functioned as the head coach of the Indian Arrows, AIFF’s developmental team in the I-League, went on to draw the example of two Arrows products, who are doing well because of the exposure they have received.
“There have been a lot of exposures in the last few years. Especially if you look at Narender (Gahlot) and Amarjit (Singh), who were in the U-17 World Cup, they played close to 50 friendly matches before the main tournament,” said Venkatesh.