Alberto Colaco, the AIFF secretary-general is stepping down after eight and a half years. He is being asked by Praful Patel, the acting AIFF president to continue on as they search for a suitable replacement.
Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, the AIFF president has been out of the loop for many months since a heart attack eight months ago.
He is presently medically stable but his recovery has been very slow and complicated by neurological damag which has led to an inability to recognize people. Yet, even as Dasmunsi fought for his life, he was re-elected AIFF president. He was also India's propaganda minister but even with that portfolio as a platform, there has been very little to boast about Indian soccer. It has been dreadful.
In his 20 years at the helm, India went from 99 to 147 in FIFA rankings. They finally qualified for the 2011 Asia Cup after an absence of 27 years, spending that time as toothless lions patrolling South Asian backyard playing Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
More importantly, with Dasmunsi's ill health, the first priority should have been to break the bureaucratic chokehold on the AIFF by installing a person knowledgeable about Indian football. Instead, one again, they have taken off in the wrong direction by appointing Praful Patel, the civil aviation minister. The last thing India needs are more political flunkies who see this as a junket.
No wonder Bob Houghton, the Indian coach is disgusted with the state of affairs.
A seething Houghton blamed the federation, clubs and the government for doing almost nothing to develop football or help build a side that could take on leading Asian rivals.
"After three years of being here, I don't think the game has moved forward very quickly," he said yesterday. "We don't see the whole picture, not just the AIFF [All India Football Federation] but the general footballing body, about the standard we need to achieve."
Houghton, 61, was angered by the absence of facilities that forced a 10-day training camp starting next week to be moved to Dubai, ahead of a training camp to Spain.
He also got into a verbal tiff with MS Gill, India's sports minister who ran off his mouth about the Indian team not being good enough to beat an Australian school team.
"Why doesn't he produce some facilities?" Houghton said.