India needs more creative players like Sahal, Thapa and Brandon: Renedy Singh

Renedy Singh played for India in the 2002 Asian Games. Matthew Ashton/AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

Former India captain Renedy Singh has urged current Indian players to work harder on their technique, citing that as a weakness in Indian football. "All the players are supremely fit, if you see their physicality. But what's missing, I feel, is the technical side of things," Renedy told the Injury Time podcast.

"If you can't send the ball pinpoint to where you want to, then you'll never play the beautiful brand of football you want to. It won't come in a day, but to be a technical player, you have to kick 500-600 balls every single day," he said.

Renedy felt that while India holding Qatar to a goalless draw in their 2022 World Cup qualifying match away in Doha was "one of the best games India have played in terms of defending and going on counters", he had feared that the home match against Bangladesh in Kolkata would be a "much tougher" game for the Indians.

"[I could see] Bangladesh doing what India did against Qatar. For 90 minutes, they didn't allow India to move, and we couldn't break in. If you are not technically sound, you cannot break a team that is defensively sound. You need all the physicality and hard work when defending, but to win games when the opposition is defending, technique is the most important thing, which we are lacking." India earned a 1-1 draw through a late corner conversion from centre back Adil Khan, and are yet to win in five qualifying matches in a group that includes Oman and Afghanistan.

Calling the Qatar draw a "big step" Renedy felt that India needed to add more creative players, and for existing ones like Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes and Anirudh Thapa to get more game time. "Look at the world's best teams, the full backs are all highly talented players. Look at Liverpool, Bayern, Manchester City - two [creative] players in the midfield are never enough," said Renedy. "We need players who have got the touch. That is missing and that's something we need to work on from now on. They need to play way more games than they are."

Renedy supported cutting down on foreigners in the domestic leagues, something that his former team mate Bhaichung Bhutia had advised against last month. "If you think from the clubs' point of view, they want to win. They don't want to wait for any Indian players to come [good], because they are spending money [and] they want results. I think they have to be patient," he said. "That's why it's so important to cut down on foreigners, so that Indian players have more chance to get a platform to showcase their skills. If they just train and don't play, how are they going to learn?" At present, the Indian Super League (ISL) allows five foreigners in the starting eleven, but the I-League is set to take that number down to four (three foreigners and one player from another AFC nation) from the 2020-21 season.

Renedy called IM Vijayan, Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri the three best players he had played alongside, pitting Vijayan as the best for his versatility. "I don't know how long we have to wait, but I would love to see a player who is better than Viju bhai, Bhaichung and Sunil. With all the facilities, I think we should. As coach, if we keep working, we should try and create those types of players," said Renedy.