'AIFF must respect IOA's decision of not sending teams to Asiad'

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Kolkata : Former Indian football team captain and Dronacharya awardee coach Syed Nayeemuddin on Thursday said the All India Football Federation (AIFF) should "respect" the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) decision not to allow the national football team to participate in the coming Asian Games.

"They must be having some problem for that reason they are not allowing," Nayeemuddin told IANS on the sidelines of an event at the Calcutta Sports Journalists' Club here.

The AIFF, football's parent body in the country, has expressed resentment over IOA's snub at its executive committee meeting in Mumbai.

The IOA, earlier this month, omitted the men and women's football teams from the Asian Games contingent, stating they don't stand a chance to win medals in the continental event to be held in Indonesian twin cities of Jakarta and Palembang.

"The IOA must be thinking differently," Nayeemuddin said when asked about the snub, despite India's recent good showing under coach Stephen Constantine.

"They want athletes to go there and become champions. We have to respect the decision. We have to take it sportingly," said Nayeemuddin, who also at various points of time coached city soccer heavyweights Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting.

Nayeemuddin, who captained the Indian team to the bronze in the 1970 Asian Games, said present national squad skipper Sunil Chhetri and his boys should do well in the Asian Cup next year.

"I think they will do well. We have a lot of expectations from them and I hope they will do well," said the Arjuna awardee.

Nayeemuddin, though, criticised the authorities for failing to give enough exposure to Indian coaches, and went to the extent of saying that though Constantine was good, he would like to see someone from the country guide the national team.

"He is doing well and I respect him but my question is, why not our own coaches? We should give our coaches ample opportunity," Nayeemuddin said.