Short Indians "not a handicap" in top football

Football is not essentially a game of hulks and India should not be bogged down by the players' short stature, English Premier League club Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said on the sidelines of a workshop with participants of the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup. He said short height could not be a handicap and players can compensate that with their skills. "At 5'6'', Messi has been scoring lot of goals and some of the best talents around are well below six feet. Maradona was no six-footer either. So that should not be a worry. I think proper technique and knowledge of the game are the two most important factors. Physique is definitely important but soccer is a game based on a player's knowledge and skill and if coached well, shorter players can make it big as well," said Ferdinand as qpted by PTI.

Ferdinand, once world's most expensive defender, also commented on the twin points of coaching and exposure. "As youngsters, they need to play at big stage as much as possible. That's why MUPC is important. They have to play more and more at this level. In my days, we did not have too many well-organised tournaments but now you have events like MUPC. It's a great experience. To improve, you also have to have good coaches, because good coaches make great players. You need proper coaching infrastructure to succeed," he explained. "I don't think India or Asia is lacking in anything else. It's just at the coaching level," he added.