If Segrt claimed that Ashfaq has mental issue when he refused to attend a pre-match press conference, what would you call Segrt when he said he is targeting to take Maldives to FIFA World Cup in four years time?
Petar Segrt came to Maldives as our national football team coach with a good reputation but it soon faded out after the ill-handling of star player Ashfaq.
Segrt, within few weeks after appointed as our head coach, became the villain of our football for claiming Ali Ashfaq has a mental issue. A remark not a single person (well, the people running Football Association of Maldives may be excluded) in the country accepted or liked.
Now few months later, Segrt has become the laughing stock of the region for proudly claiming that he is targeting to take Maldives to a FIFA World Cup in four years’ time. Well, this claim is more of an insult to the country and our infrastructure and shockingly more than 24 hours have passed since and FAM is yet to say anything to it.
Going to a World Cup is a big statement and for a small country with limited resources like Maldives, this huge statement should be made by FAM or the Government not our head coach. The silence from FAM is a clear sign that Segrt misused the opportunity given by FAM to talk about his team selection.
Nations don’t qualify to World Cup by chance, it is the result of hard work and years of grass root development and following a master-plan. Few years back, India started Football is Future program with the aim of qualifying to FIFA World Cup in 2030 (yes, you read it right). The program is backed by one of world’s richest businesses. Europe’s top clubs are opening their academies, marquee players are playing in their Super League to attract locals to football. Soon, Super League and their traditional I league will be merged to form one of the biggest football leagues in the world. India has more resources and are financially incomparable to Maldives, yet they didn’t target to reach FIFA World Cup in four years’ time.
In Maldives, we have no proper grass root development. Our league format is garbage, probably the only league in the world where teams have to play qualification every year. Clubs are operating on huge debts, despite playing in AFC’s second tier club competition we have a habit of crashing out from group stage. Our national team has never won an AFC approved tournament, we have beaten India only once in a competitive game. Our league games are playing in an empty stadium. There are more serious issues in our football than aiming to reach FIFA World Cup in four years.
It is crystal clear that reaching FIFA World Cup in four years is not in FAM’s plan, if they had any such plan they would have already shared it like the way they were talking about a football academy in Hulhumale (well, after reading this article, they might claim that they do have a plan for World Cup).
No matter how big your dreams are, reaching the World Cup in four years is not a realistic target. And for a country like Maldives not a single sensible person would agree that we can reach the World Cup in four years time.
Segrt claimed Ashfaq has a mental issue after he refused to attend a pre-match press conference. But Segrt proved that the person with real mental issue is the man himself.