Former Australia and Jamshedpur FC striker Tim Cahill feels Indian football’s young prospects can make the best of their talent with systematic exposure.
Cahill, who brought his illustrious career to an end following his stint with Jamshedpur FC in the 2018-19 season of the Indian Super League (ISL), said his experience convinced him that India has what is needed to excel on the continental and world stages.
“Indian talents just need more games. Get them playing and competing all the time, and when they go into international fixtures, you (will) see that they can handle the pressure,” Cahill was quoted as saying, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s official website.
His spell with Jamshedpur was cut short to 11 games due to injury, but the Australian veteran only has fond memories of his time with The Red Miners.
“It was amazing, I lived and breathed everything and was very close to the community as well as the owners from the Tata Group. One of the best things about the organisation and the club was that everything we did was for our fans and everything that Jamshedpur FC did was for the players,” Cahill said.
Cahill, who had also spent eight years at English Premier League club Everton, also discussed their involvement with football training programmes in India.
“The academy where we trained was not even half a mile away from our flats. We were around kids and in schools where we opened up training programmes. I was asked about fundamental skills and things that I do such as projects. Literally, it was just crazy,” he said.
He added: “We were in the middle of nowhere and we have thousands at the game. I’m very blessed to have had that kind of experience. The ISL and the leagues that are being played with its infrastructure are great and the only thing that the game needs more than anything is unity.”
Known to be Australia’s all-time leading goal scorer, Cahill sees a clear path forward in terms of the game.
“Everyone is flowing in the same direction to get to that one goal, which is to win an AFC Asian Cup title, to reach the World Cup and help women’s football and to develop our own leagues,” he stated.