‘Nothing new in I-League, but promises professionalism’

February 25th, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by admin  

By Abhishek Roy
New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Club coaches feel India’s inaugural professional I-League had nothing new offer in comparison with its erstwhile semi-professional version, the National Football League (NFL). But the not-so-disappointed coaches say I-League is just the start towards professionalism in Indian football.

I-League concluded with Dempo Sports Club of Goa emerging the champions.

“I don’t find anything new in this I-League except the increase in prize money and the tournament being played over a shorter span of time,” Dempo coach Armando Colaco told IANS.

“There is a lot of work to be done and the onus is on the clubs to do that. This is just a start and if we keep up our good work I think the I-League holds a great future for professional football in the country.”

According to Colaco, it is high time the clubs get professional.

“The success of the league depends on the clubs. It is good that we have a professional league now but if the clubs don’t get professional, then the league will not be of any use. Every club should have its own stadium and under-age team and a dedicated medical staff. But show me how many clubs have it?”

Runners-up Churchill Brothers’ Moroccan coach Karim Bencharifa has similar views.

“Ultimately at the end of the day a good league will determine the health of the national team. And that can only happen when we have new talent. Clubs need to focus on their youth developments programmes, which will be an assembly for the main team playing in the I-League,” said the Moroccan.

“As of now the only difference I see is in the name. I-League, J-League, K-League seem to be the style in Asia.”

Former India and JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh said the All India Football Federation (AIFF) should look to stretch the league over a longer period and also plan to slate matches on weekends.

“This time the league got over very quickly. It puts a lot of pressure on the players as well. I think next time, the AIFF should extend it by few more weeks and should organise the matches on weekends.”

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