From claiming to fight for the players and standing from that plank a couple of days ago to now being nominated like this, what changed in the interim?
I’ve always said before, this is my life. I have been in football for 40 years now, and this is what I know. I have the know-how, the knowledge to serve Indian football. And players know these things best. I can work closely with states as a team for development of Indian football.
Kalyan Chaubey too claims to have the same vision as you…
What stops Kalyan from working closely with me? I am the more experienced player, and have more experience in working with the states. I know FIFA and the AFC, they know me…
Football is a team game, and senior, mature players are known to turn ‘libero’ in their later years and control the game from the back? Surely, there is a role for you…
No, it doesn’t work like that. Kalyan is a great guy, I’ve known him well but I also feel that he is being misled by the states in the case.
It’s being said your nomination seems to be the last throw of dice by Praful Patel to exert some kind of influence as things move on?
I haven’t sought anybody’s help, I haven’t sided with any political party. I felt I had to contribute to Indian football so I made my intent known. I cannot say anything about the political affiliations of my proposer and seconder. I understand Manvendra Singh is a former BJP leader, now with Congress, but that’s of no concern to me.
In the previous election plan, why do you think players didn’t come out openly in your support?
We have always maintained that the players are united for the cause of their representation and I still remain a firm believer of them having voting rights