Indian Football

Football: SAFF Cup a chance for youngsters to earn their place in Asian Cup squad, says Constantine

India have secured a summit clash with Maldives in the final of the SAFF Suzuki Cup.

Indian football team chief coach Stephen Constantine Thursday made it clear that the SAFF Cup is a platform for talented players to impress and earn their places in the squad for the Asian Cup.

The Asian Cup will be held early next year in the UAE.

“These boys have a carrot in front of them which is a berth in the Asian Cup squad. They are well aware of the fact that they need to perform constantly to earn the same,” Constantine said.

With India having secured a summit clash with Maldives in the final of the SAFF Suzuki Cup, Constantine said the “final will be a tough one”.

“Maldives have shown their worth in the semi-final against Nepal. A 3-0 win against Nepal was not an easy task. Some of their players didn’t play against us and they did some major damage work against Nepal,” Constantine stated.

“We are expecting a tough game against Maldives. But as I said before, we have come with a strong intent to win the tournament.”

Manvir Singh who scored a brace against Pakistan in the semi-final to win his successive MVP Award of the tournament said the focus has “already shifted to the final”.

“It was a group of tough guys and the job was never going to be an easy one. But we had the self-belief to churn out the positive result and eventually, we did,” he said.

“Now, we have another major task in three days and we will need to focus on the final. We are working as a unit and we just need to keep our heads down and continue the work,” the 23-year-old striker who is leading the goal-scorers’ chart with 3 goals, maintained.

The coach also praised on the All India Football Federation for allowing him to work his own way.

“Regarding the team’s requirement, I have hardly been denied whatever I asked for. The credit of rising to 96 from 173 in the FIFA rankings in less than four years caters to everyone including the excellent backroom staff who I work with.

“Our sports scientist Danny Deigan implemented some of the major tools and it helps us in one way or other. We have a huge chunk of data with us and they are invaluable in terms of drawing a blueprint,” he said.

“Gigy George is one of the best physios I have worked with till date. The medical team works until 1 am in the morning to keep the boys fit and running. Mostly, the credit goes to the players who have believed in themselves. Trust me, I’m not an easy guy to live with (laughs),” the coach said.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

People who fall through the gaps in road safety campaigns

Helmet and road safety campaigns might have been neglecting a sizeable chunk of the public at risk.

City police, across the country, have been running a long-drawn campaign on helmet safety. In a recent initiative by the Bengaluru Police, a cop dressed-up as ‘Lord Ganesha’ offered helmets and roses to two-wheeler riders. Earlier this year, a 12ft high and 9ft wide helmet was installed in Kota as a memorial to the victims of road accidents. As for the social media leg of the campaign, the Mumbai Police made a pop-culture reference to drive the message of road safety through their Twitter handle.

But, just for the sake of conversation, how much safety do helmets provide anyway?

Lack of physical protections put two-wheeler riders at high risk on the road. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Nearly half of those dying on the world’s roads are ‘vulnerable road users’ – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to the Indian transport ministry, about 28 two-wheeler riders died daily on Indian roads in 2016 for not wearing helmets.

The WHO states that wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of severe injury by over 70%. The components of a helmet are designed to reduce impact of a force collision to the head. A rigid outer shell distributes the impact over a large surface area, while the soft lining absorbs the impact.

However, getting two-wheeler riders to wear protective headgear has always been an uphill battle, one that has intensified through the years owing to the lives lost due on the road. Communication tactics are generating awareness about the consequences of riding without a helmet and changing behaviour that the law couldn’t on its own. But amidst all the tag-lines, slogans and get-ups that reach out to the rider, the safety of the one on the passenger seat is being ignored.

Pillion rider safety has always been second in priority. While several state governments are making helmets for pillion riders mandatory, the lack of awareness about its importance runs deep. In Mumbai itself, only 1% of the 20 lakh pillion riders wear helmets. There seems to be this perception that while two-wheeler riders are safer wearing a helmet, their passengers don’t necessarily need one. Statistics prove otherwise. For instance, in Hyderabad, the Cyberabad traffic police reported that 1 of every 3 two-wheeler deaths was that of a pillion rider. DGP Chander, Goa, stressed that 71% of fatalities in road accidents in 2017 were of two-wheeler rider and pillion riders of which 66% deaths were due to head injury.

Despite the alarming statistics, pillion riders, who are as vulnerable as front riders to head-injuries, have never been the focus of helmet awareness and safety drives. To fill-up that communication gap, Reliance General Insurance has engineered a campaign, titled #FaceThePace, that focusses solely on pillion rider safety. The campaign film tells a relatable story of a father taking his son for cricket practice on a motorbike. It then uses cricket to bring our attention to a simple flaw in the way we think about pillion rider safety – using a helmet to play a sport makes sense, but somehow, protecting your head while riding on a two-wheeler isn’t considered.

This road safety initiative by Reliance General Insurance has taken the lead in addressing the helmet issue as a whole — pillion or front, helmets are crucial for two-wheeler riders. The film ensures that we realise how selective our worry about head injury is by comparing the statistics of children deaths due to road accidents to fatal accidents on a cricket ground. Message delivered. Watch the video to see how the story pans out.

Play

To know more about Reliance general insurance policies, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Reliance General Insurance and not by the Scroll editorial team.