Indian football's technical director Rob Baan Friday said the country should be ashamed of its 168th place in FIFA rankings and work hard to plug the gaping holes in various aspects of the game.
Addressing a panel discussion on 'Mission Rank 100: Myth or Reality?' organised by FICCI, Baan said India will have to focus on grassroot and infrastructure development if it wants to rise in FIFA rankings.
"We should be ashamed of the low rankings. A country like Iceland, which has around 60,000 population are ranked around 60 in FIFA charts and India is now at 168th. We have just 114 points and it is so much less in numbers," said Baan in perhaps the strongest comment about Indian football after taking charge in October last year.
"We should not find excuses. We lost to Singapore 0-2 in the international friendly and it means we were not good enough. We have a lot of work to do and there are so many gaping holes," said Baan who has served as assistant coach of the Netherlands and technical director of the Australian team.
National players have been saying that the team is much better than the 168th rank but Baan said FIFA rankings give a general picture of the standard of football in a country.
He also felt that India would take time to break into the top-100, an opinion different from national goalkeeper Subrata Pal who had recently said that the country could do so in 18 months by playing frequent international matches.
"FIFA rankings in general give picture of the standard of football in a country. Spain is number one in FIFA rankings and rightly so. The Netherlands were second some time back and they were now pushed down to sixth after losing a few games," the 69-year-old Dutchman reasoned.
"It is possible we can be in top 100 by 2018. To do that we have to start work from the grassroot level. We have to focus on the youth development and infrastructure, academies, education of coaches," he said.